Election 2016

North Dakota Politician Wonders If Anti-Muslim Violence Is Just ‘the Cost of Doing Business’

esquire.comPent-up frustrations in the city were bubbling to the surface, said Terry Bjerke, a Grand Forks City Council member running to unseat Brown for mayor. Some were already upset that UND’s mascot, the Fighting Sioux, was being replaced with the more culturally sensitive Fighting Hawks—and had embraced the anger at the “P.C. police” expressed by presidential candidates Trump and Ben Carson. The campaign had finally given people a license to say how they feel. “We are sick of it,” Bjerke said. “Our questions are legitimate.” Bjerke said he was upset that there were no statistics to show whether refugees had been responsible for an increase in robberies and burglaries. With so many refugee students learning English in school, he wondered whether native speakers were losing valuable time from their teachers. Most upsetting, he said, was that the Somalis were not adopting “American customs,” such as playing hockey or eating hot dogs. Although he condemned attacks on Muslims, Bjerke said they might have been “the cost of doing business” in a country that rightly values free speech. The week after the public hearing on diversity, Bjerke invited a speaker named Usama Dakdok, an Egyptian Christian, to lecture about the city’s need to contain Islam’s influence. More than 450 attended, watching as Bjerke raised copies of the Constitution and the New Testament in the air and declared, “From my cold, dead hands!”

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