Somalis

Three men were found guilty Wednesday of conspiring to blow up an apartment complex in western Kansas that housed Somali immigrants.

Attorneys for two of the Kansas men accused of plotting to bomb an apartment complex filled with Somali Muslim immigrants in Garden City argued their clients were bit players not interested in actually carrying out the plan.  

Attorneys defending three Kansas men accused of a bomb plot in Garden City are arguing there wouldn’t have been a plot without FBI manipulation.

Defense attorneys for two of the men charged in an alleged bomb plot in western Kansas argued their clients were manipulated by the FBI into remaining part of the conspiracy.

Cross examination of Dan Day, the paid FBI informant in the case, wrapped up Wednesday, with the defense asking him why he didn’t put a stop to the plot earlier when he had the chance.

An FBI informant’s account of the investigation into an alleged bomb plot in western Kansas was called into question Tuesday.

A key witness in the trial involving three Kansas men accused of planning an attack on Somali immigrants testified Thursday that the group was actively recruiting people to help carry out the alleged plot.

The ex-girlfriend of one of the men accused of plotting an attack against immigrants in Garden City says the men spent months studying how to make homemade explosives.  

Federal prosecutors told jurors Thursday that three men charged with plotting to bomb an apartment complex and mosque in western Kansas were motivated by their hate of Muslim immigrants.

“They wanted to send the message that Muslims are not welcome here — not in Garden City, not in Kansas, not in America,” prosecutor Risa Berkower said.

Her opening statement in the Wichita trial laid out a case that only the work of federal agents stopped, the trio from carrying out a bombing the day after the Nov. 8, 2016, presidential election.

Three militia members accused of plotting to bomb a mosque and apartment complex in southwest Kansas go on trial Tuesday in Wichita.

Their alleged plot laid bare tiny pockets of the ugliest, potentially violent, racism in a region that’s seen immigrants drawn to tough meatpacking jobs for decades.

The raw hate exposed in the alleged plan shocked some of the refugees who were targeted, reminding them of violence they fled in Somalia and sparking an exodus from one of the prairie towns.

It also prompted more people to talk with admiration of the workforce that keeps the meatpacking industry, and the region’s economy, alive. They’ve reached out to the would-be targets of domestic terrorism.

“We all give each other a chance here,” says LeVita Rohlman, who directs the Catholic Agency for Migration and Refugee Services in Garden City. “Even when things go wrong. I believe that this community stands united.”

The plot took root near Dodge City, at the easternmost point of a the Kansas meatpacking triangle formed with Liberal and Dodge City. All three Great Plains cities have for generations drawn immigrants for the smelly, dangerous work of transforming cattle into steaks and hamburger. It’s work that few U.S.-born Americans take on.

Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office

A judge has denied a request from the three men accused of a bomb plot targeting Somali immigrants to expand the jury pool in their case to areas with more Trump supporters. 

Gavin Wright, Patrick Stein, and Curtis Allen will be tried in Wichita for allegedly planning to bomb a Somali mosque and apartment complex in Garden City the day after the 2016 presidential election.

The jurors will come from the Wichita and Hutchinson areas.

ADAM SHRIMPLIN / REUTERS

On Monday, New York Magazine published a 9-page article about last October’s thwarted plot to bomb that targeted members of Garden City's Somali community.

The article paints portraits of the three Southwest Kansas men, Curtis Allen, Patrick Stein and Gavin Wright, who are accused of planning to bomb a Somali mosque and apartment complex. It describes the men's affiliation with a militia group and the men’s motivation for planning the attack.

A rural hospital administrator in southwest Kansas has taken on the role of go-between for Kansans and immigrants from war-ravaged countries on the other side of the world.

The federal commission in charge of enforcing workplace anti-discrimination laws found a Colorado meatpacking plant violated the rights of its Muslim workers during a dispute over prayer breaks.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) found reasonable cause that Cargill Meat Solutions and labor union Teamsters Local No. 455 violated the rights of Somali workers when it fired nearly 150 of them for failing to show up to work after a walk-out at its Fort Morgan, Colo. beef plant in late 2015.

City of Garden City, KS

A British national daily newspaper published an in-depth article this week about the foiled mosque and apartment complex bombing plot in Garden City lastt fall, sharing fears that Somali residents still feel even months after three southwest Kansas men were apprehended by FBI agents and charged with domestic terrorism.

Clinic for refugees opens in Garden City

Feb 20, 2017
City of Garden City, KS

There’s a new clinic in Garden City, Kansas that aims to provide the community’s refugee population with healthcare and language services.  

As the Garden City Telegram reports, Dr. John Birky, CEO of the New Hope Together clinic, said the organization is dedicated to improving the physical, spiritual, and socioeconomic well-being of refugees in the community through healthcare services, English language learning and mutually beneficial relationships.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

This story is part of the special series United And Divided, which explores the links and rifts between rural and urban America.

The bell signals the start of second period. A trio of young women take seats in English class, their attention quickly drifting outside the walls of the high school in Fort Morgan, Colorado, eager to talk about what they’re working toward.

“I want to become an FBI [agent],” says freshman Mariam Mohammed. “It’s my dream.”

Joe Amon / The Denver Post

A couple of weeks ago more than 200 Muslim workers walked off their jobs at a Cargill meat plant in eastern Colorado. Now the vast majority of those workers have been fired, reports The Denver Post.

Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

NOEL, MO - It’s almost 9 a.m., and Noel Primary School teacher Erin McPherson is helping a group of Spanish-speaking students complete English language exercises. But it’s tough going.

One student in a bright blue T-shirt – 9-year-old Isac Martinez – has not yet picked up his pencil. He’s clearly sick. When McPherson asks him what’s wrong, Isac’s small voice is barely audible in between coughs. He says he threw up four times last night but did not go to a doctor.