MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Some in the Twin Cities Somali community are boycotting the Mall of America for their end of Ramadan celebration this week because of charges against Black Lives Matter protesters in connection to a rally held on one of the busiest shopping days of last year.
In a press release from Black Lives Matter, it says hundreds in the Somali community will boycott the mall for the Eid celebration, which comes at the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting in Islamic tradition.
“It is critical the Somali community stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and the work they are doing for all black people,” said community organizer Ahmed Hirsi in a statement. “The Somali community is not safe from state-sanctioned violence against black people, such as police brutality, discrimination, or persecution based on faith, and we will work together to create an equitable future for all of us.”
For years, many in the Somali community have held Eid celebrations at the Mall of America, the press release said. This year, however, those participating in the boycott will celebrate Eid this coming Saturday at the Brian Coyle Center in south Minneapolis instead.
The boycott stems from charges filed against 11 Black Lives Matter organizers following the Dec. 20, 2014, demonstration, which drew thousands of protesters to the mall on one of the busiest holiday shopping weekends.
While the protest was peaceful, the mall had extra security on hand and some 30 arrests were made.
Black Lives Matter and members of the Somali community are asking that charges be dropped against the organizers, who face several misdemeanors and the possibility of having to pay for police overtime.
Dozens of academic and religious leaders have also called for the charges to be dropped.
However, Bloomington city attorney Sandra Johnson says she must proceed with them because of a 1999 Minnesota Supreme Court decision that ruled the Mall of America is private property.