Chaos Breaks out at Mall of America During Islamic Celebration

Tens of thousands visit Mall of America during the Islamic celebration of Eid Al Adha; chaos breaks out, arrests made.

Photo credit

KARE 11 Video

BLOOMINGTON, MN On September 12, 2016 at least 10 people were arrested or cited by Bloomington Police after a melee broke out during the Islamic celebration of Eid Al Adha at the Mall of America KARE 11 reports.  

According to KARE 11, the people who were arrested or cited all were between the ages of 12-15. Four were boys and six were girls.  The police did not comment on what started the melee, but the reports state that those involved were cited on charges of disorderly conduct, obstructing the legal process and giving false information to the police.  The video above shows hundreds of young people, many dressed in traditional Muslim attire, running through the mall.  

The incident occurred on Eid Al Adha – also known as “The Festival of Sacrifice” an Islamic holy day that celebrates the Prophet Abraham’s obedience to Allah’s request to sacrifice his son, Isaac. On Eid Al Adha, Minnesota Muslims flock to the Mall of America by the tens of thousands. A FOX 9 story posted just hours before the September 12th incident cites the tradition: in “A Pilgrimage to Mall of America on Eid Al Adha,”  KMSP reporter Maury Glover states that “anywhere from 25,000 to 40,000 Muslims (celebrate Eid Al Adha) at the MOA.” 

Witnesses described fights among young people and being afraid.  One Facebook comment relayed that while they were at a MOA restaurant, the restaurant doors had to be shut in an attempt to prevent pepper spray from coming into the establishment.  Many still had trouble breathing while chaos reigned outside.  


KARE 11 posted its report on Facebook where it was shared by over 400 people.  Many of the posts were by teenagers seemingly involved in the disturbance (see below); their comments about the incident were mostly prideful, stating “It was lit…” and using laughing with tears emojis to describe their glee.


Mall of America has a “Parental Escort Policy” that applies after 4pm on Friday and Saturday evenings and holidays; however, the Eid holiday fell on a Monday so the policy did not apply, allowing young children and teenagers to run wild through the mall.  

Every year, thousands of Muslims in Minnesota turn the biggest shopping center in the world into a non-shopping mall, where the biggest gift we get is our free spirits. ~Ahmed Tharwat, NPR 2006

In Islamic countries, Eid Al Adha is celebrated by sacrificing animals, an event that resulted in “rivers of blood” flowing through the streets of Bangladesh this year when the slaughtered animals’ blood mixed with rainwater, causing the streets to run red.

However, in Minnesota, the day’s traditions include going to prayers – held at community mosques as well as at the Minneapolis Convention Center and the Xcel Energy Center – followed by a social time and then heading to Mall of America to meet friends and family.


Instead of sacrificing animals, the tradition includes going to the food court and sharing a meal with other Muslims before going on rides at Nickelodeon Universe or enjoying other MOA activities.  KMSP reporter, Glover, reports that “one of the biggest problems is parents losing track of their kids,” which is evident in the video provided by KARE 11 above and the fact that those arrested were between 12-15 years old.  

At the mall they are not shopping, just celebrating. There are no shopping bags to carry, just their kids, no cultural idol to worship except their God, no fashion trends to follow, only their traditions. It’s Christmas without the shopping craze. Every year, thousands of American Muslims turn the biggest shopping mall in America into a non-shopping mall, if only for one day.

Alpha News contacted Mall of America for comment on this story, but received no comment.



Andrea Mayer-Bruestle

Andrea Mayer-Bruestle is a former writer for Alpha News.