By Jennifer Mayerle

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota’s top cops and law enforcers stood with the state’s Muslim community in solidarity Thursday.

A community meeting was held to continue building the relationship, and to address the fears of the Muslim community in the wake of the latest terror attacks.

The room was full of people with a shared goal: to build trust and understanding.

“Those of us in law enforcement have two very important and difficult jobs that we must accomplish at the exact same time,” United States Attorney Andy Luger said.

He says that is to keep everyone safe, and to protect at-risk communities.

Luger — along with the FBI, BCA, sheriffs, police chiefs and county attorneys representing the Twin Cities — talked about their commitment to ensuring the safety and security of the Muslim community in Minnesota.

“When you have an act of terrorism, it can cause a spike in hate crimes,” said said Richard Thornton, FBI Special Agent in Charge of Minneapolis.

And that is why this group came together now. People spoke candidly about how hate and perceived discrimination affects their everyday life.

“Every single time there’s trouble somewhere, we are being held responsible,” said Imam Mohammed Dukuly, of Masjid Al-Ansar Islamic Community Center.

He says members of his mosque live in fear.

“It’s really terrible to live in that fear, constant fear. The anticipation of fear is worse than the action itself,” Dukuly said. “And this is where most of us live like this. We experience this every day.”

But the Muslim community who decided to be part of the conversation says this helps.

“This doesn’t happen anywhere else. It happens only in Minnesota. It gives us hope because they are holding our hand, literally, telling us, ‘It’s OK. It’s OK to be in Minnesota. It’s OK, we got your back,” said Mohamed Ahmed, of Average Mohamed.

Thornton says he is not aware of any retaliation in Minnesota since the terror attack in Belgium.

The group plans to hold similar meetings in the future.

Jennifer Mayerle