Sudan refugee concerned for his safety after vandalism outside his Spenard home
Last Updated March 30, 6 p.m.
Mohammed Abdallai, who moved to Alaska almost five years ago as a refugee, says he is concerned for his safety after the vehicles outside of his home were vandalized.
Words like “Get out,” “Go home” and “Leave Alaska,” among others, had been written on his green SUV and another vehicle outside of his residence in Spenard. The tires on both cars had also been slashed. Abdallai, and the four other Sudanese refugees who live in the two apartments on the 3400 block of Dorbrandt Street, found the damage Sunday morning.
“What I feel is I’m not allowed to live over here,” Abdallai says. “There’s a message and threat against me that’s saying, ‘You’re not allowed to live over here, move out of here.'”
Abdallai says since he came to Alaska from Sudan, Africa in 2010, he’s never experienced anything like this. Since then, he’s become a resident and works at Providence Alaska Medical center. But now, he says, he doesn’t feel welcome in his Anchorage home. Fellow refugee Mahajoub Ait echoes those concerns.
“We know that America is a great country and a peaceful place to be,” said Ait, adding that that’s why they left their home country. “The thing we need is at least, we feel safe or to feel the community cares about us.”
When he found the vandalism, Abdallai says he called the Anchorage Police Department to ask if someone would come over to investigate. But his request was denied, he says.
“They refused to come over to investigate the situation,” he said of APD. “I don’t know why they are not coming out.”
APD Dispatch says it doesn’t immediately respond to vandalism calls if there’s no suspect information available.
“The resident was unable to provide any possible suspect information and was told to call police if he learned of any additional information that might be helpful to this case,” a Monday release from APD says. “It was explained to the resident that officers are not typically dispatched to vehicle tampering incidents and that reports for these types of incidents are taken through APD Records.”
Dispatch also says Abdallai’s case doesn’t qualify as a hate crime because the messages contain no added element of bias that fits the definition. A hate crime is defined as a criminal offense specifically “motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.”
Abdallai and Ait, however, feel the messages on their cars are very targeted.
“It’s a threat to me,” Abdallai says. “There’s a message threatening me that I have to move.”
Monday evening, APD issued a release asking the community to come forward with more information on the vandalism incident, adding that there is still no suspect information available in this case.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call APD at 786-8900 or, to submit a tip anonymously, call Anchorage Crime Stoppers at 561-STOP or go online to www.anchoragecrimestoppers.com.
This weekend, on April 4, the community group We Are Anchorage is planning a community potluck at Northway Mall, “welcoming all immigrants to Alaska.” The festivities will kick off at 1 p.m.
KTVA 11’s Jacquie Slater contributed reporting to this story.
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