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Minnesota: Somali-American Woman Forgives Attacker for Hate Crime

HeadlineDec 22, 2016
H08 somali woman attacked

In Minnesota, a judge has sentenced a woman to six months in prison after she ordered a Somali-American woman to “speak English” before smashing a beer mug into her face for speaking Swahili. Jodie Burchard-Risch pleaded guilty to last year’s assault at an Applebee’s restaurant, which left Asma Jama with a bloodied face and 17 stitches in her lip. Jama addressed her attacker in court at a sentencing hearing on Tuesday.

Asma Jama: “My religion teaches me to forgive so I can go on with my life. If I hold a grudge and I hold the hate you hold towards me against you, it’s not going to serve me well. So, in front of everybody here, I do forgive you, and I hope that you choose love over hate.”

Minnesota is home to a large Somali-American community, which has faced a rash of hate crimes. In a campaign stop last month shortly before Election Day, Donald Trump railed against Somali immigrants, saying some had joined ISIS and describing Somali immigration as a “disaster taking place in Minnesota.”

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