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Muslim leaders ask FBI to investigate body found in burnt car as hate crime

29th Jul 2022

Elham Asaad Buaras

Several Muslim leaders in St Cloud, Minnesota, US, have called for the FBI to investigate a possible hate crime after Musa Sabriye, 33, was found dead in a charred car nearby in Waite Park on May 30.

“What is critical is for us to know how Musa lost his life—what caused him to lose his life and if somebody was involved in taking his life,” said Sabriye’s brother Abdullahi Ali, speaking in his native Somali through a translator. “We need steadfastness and quick justice.”

A car fire was reported north of Interstate 94 near Highway 15 just before 1 a.m, according to Waite Park Police Chief David Bentrud.

Because of the severe damage to the vehicle and body, authorities were unable to identify the victim or the vehicle’s make immediately. The family was notified on June 2 after a DNA sample confirmed the remains were those of Sabriye.

The investigation is being conducted by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the State Fire Marshal’s Office, and the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office. To determine whether the incident was a hate crime, community leaders asked the FBI to be consulted.

“We will continue to keep his family informed as our investigation progresses,” said Bentrud. “In keeping with Minnesota law, we will release all public information from our investigation once it is closed.”

Sabriye was described as hardworking and kind by his friends and family at the Islamic Center. His brother said he worked at a distribution facility.

Jama Alimad, a Somali elder, said he feels the community has a good relationship with area police but wants to ensure Sabriye’s case is treated with as much diligence as other suspicious deaths.

“Musa was a productive community member,” Alimad said. “He was part of the future of this community. And now he’s gone.”
Mohamed Ibrahim, deputy director for the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, asked authorities to communicate better with Sabriye’s family to keep them apprised of the investigation.

“With the lack of information, all you’re going to get is a lack of community trust. And a lot of problems come from that,” Ibrahim said. So, we have an opportunity right now to get ahead of this to build community trust.”

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