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Islamic leaders ask FBI to investigate body found in burnt-out car as hate crime

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ST. CLOUD – Islamic leaders here on Friday asked authorities to investigate a possible hate crime after Musa Sabriye, a 33-year-old St. Cloud resident, was found dead in a charred car on Monday in the nearby town of Waite Park.

“What is essential for us is to know how Musa lost his life – what caused him to lose his life and whether anyone was involved in his death,” said Sabriye’s brother, Abdullahi Ali. , speaking in his native Somali through a translator. “We need firmness and swift justice.”

Local police and firefighters responded to a car fire just north of Interstate 94 near the freeway. 15 minutes before 1 a.m. Monday, according to Waite Park Police Chief David Bentrud.

The vehicle and body were so badly damaged that authorities were unable to immediately identify the victim or the make of the vehicle. After obtaining a DNA sample, officials confirmed it was Sabriye and notified the family on Thursday.

Police are working with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the State Fire Marshal and the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office on the investigation. On Friday, Islamic leaders asked the FBI to also be consulted to determine whether the incident was a hate crime.

“We will continue to keep his family informed as our investigation progresses,” Bentrud said on Friday. “Per Minnesota law, we will release all public information from our investigation once the investigation is complete.”

On Friday, friends and family at the Islamic Center described Sabriye as hardworking and kind. He worked at a fulfillment center and was taking classes to get his GED, his brother said.

Jama Alimad, a former Somali, said he believed the community generally had a good relationship with police in the area, but wanted to ensure Sabriye’s case was handled as diligently as other suspicious deaths.

“Musa was a productive member of the community,” Alimad said. “It was [part] of the future of this community. And now he’s gone.”

Mohamed Ibrahim, deputy director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, asked authorities to better communicate with Sabriye’s family to update them on the investigation.

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