Support grows for Somali restaurant hit by suspicious fire

Published 10:03 am Wednesday, December 9, 2015

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Residents of Grand Forks are showing their support for a Somali restaurant that was heavily damaged by what authorities have called a suspicious fire.

The city’s mayor issued a statement of support, a crowdfunding effort has raised about $12,000 and dozens of people of different faiths showed up for a candlelight ceremony outside the Juba Coffee House on Tuesday night.

“It just shows that we are together as a community,” Saaid Mohamed, one of those who attended, said.

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The business suffered an estimated $90,000 in damage in the early Monday fire that the Fire Department called “incendiary and suspicious in nature.” It happened just three days after vandals spray-painted an offensive symbol on the business along with the words “go home,” though it’s not yet known if the two incidents are connected.

Last March, a racial slur targeting the city’s Somali community was found on a different building.