The Dearborn offices of Arab American News, the oldest and largest Muslim news paper in the nation, were attacked Friday morning by two unidentified suspects. To date, the police have not been able to catch them or provide a motive behind the crime.
Witnesses recall that the suspects tried to break into the offices through the back door by smashing its bulletproof glass with a hammer. The staffers present in the offices thought that the multiple bangs were in fact gunshots.
The police said that at least 11 people were in the offices at the moment of the attack. Publisher Osama Siblani said he heard at least four bangs he and his colleagues feared were gunshots. Siblani recalled all the lights were on at the time and he was waiting for the attackers to come in and start shooting.
CCTV cameras show the two suspects trying to break the back door open. After several unsuccessful attempts, they gave up and drove off in a Chevrolet Monte Carlo. The Dearbon Police department has opened an investigation into the attack.
Arab American News staffers are concerned that the attack may be motivated by a hate crime against Muslims, which means that it could be resumed. According to the newspaper, cameras show the two attackers are young black males. Yet, though they had hoodies on, they looked at the cameras several times during the attacks.
“[…] either they’re gutsy criminals or stupid criminals,”
Fortunately, no one was injured during the incident. According to an Arab American News’ blog post, no one really knows why the two suspects decided to attack their Dearborn offices. But most importantly, no one got hurt, the newspaper added.
Reportedly, Siblani has talked to other fellow Muslims in Dearborn, and many of them were rather edgy. While the FBI and local police are surveilling the surroundings, the Muslim community fears that “some nut” could randomly raid a Muslim site and start shooting at the members of the community.
The publisher also said that he thought several times about the possibility of a similar attack at the newspapers’ offices. Nevertheless, despite the growing tension, the newspaper will resume work.
Siblani added that the newspaper has been running for 31 years, and it isn’t the first time staffers were threatened for reporting the truth. But every single time, workers were fortunate that no one got hurt.
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