ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Members of Minnesota's Kenyan community vowed Wednesday they won't retaliate against Somalis for the terrorist attack on a Nairobi mall, saying they recognize that Al-Shabab represents only a small part of Somali opinion.
They also told reporters at a state Capitol news conference that Kenyans and Somalis in Minnesota can work together to strengthen their ties locally.
"To see this act of unspeakable terror upon our citizens reminds us all that we live in a world where others seek to destroy our way of life," said Pastor Zipporah Bogonko. "Yet, we will not retaliate with hate or retribution but extend our love and hospitality — that is who we are as a people."
About 10,000 native Kenyans live in Minnesota, the Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported (http://bit.ly/1b6r7hO ). Many waited anxiously for word over the weekend about whether relatives or friends had been harmed in the siege at a Nairobi shopping mall by the Somali-based terror group al-Shabab.
Minnesota is home to the largest Somali community in the United States.
"We view this as an act perpetuated by a very small section of a group known as al-Shabab," Attorney Henry Ongeri said. "We don't believe that this by itself would cause any tensions. They are our brothers. I'm confident that we're going to continue to be the good friends and neighbors we've always been."
The Kenyan leaders said it was helpful that Somali leaders in Minnesota earlier this week condemned the attack.
Minnesota Kenyans plan to hold a prayer service Saturday in Brooklyn Park.
Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com