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Partners of tiny Fargo firm say anti-Muslim tirade by employee made their lives miserable

Fargo Police Chief David Todd takes a picture of reconciliation with Amber Hensley, flanked by Somali-American sisters Sarah and Leyla Hassan Thursday, July 27. On Tuesday, Hensley threatened to kill the women and their friend while in the 13th Avenue South Walmart parking lot. Todd said he arranged the meeting to show an example of forgiveness and understanding. (Special to Forum News Service)

FARGO—Whether Amber Hensley is re-hired by her former Fargo employer may not be known for some time, if at all.

Sarah Hassan, one of three Somali-American woman who was threatened earlier this week in an anti-Muslim tirade by Hensley caught on video that went viral, said Thursday, July 27, she would try to help Hensley get her job back after Hensley apologized to her and two other women involved in the incident at a Fargo Walmart parking lot.

Hensley was fired by the small accounting firm Horab & Wentz on Wednesday after they became aware of the tirade and were forced to field hundreds of calls from around the globe demanding Hensley be punished by the employer for her actions.

Hassan said Friday she followed through on her promise, calling Hensley's former firm and asking them to reinstate Hensley to her administrative assistant position.

The answer Hassan got was the same as that provided to The Forum:

"It's just between us and her," one of the firm's two partners said Friday.

Both partners, who asked that their first names not be used for fear they would be forced to field calls at home, said earlier Friday that the business had been greatly inconvenienced by the reaction to Hensley's words, leaving them unable to work.

"We haven't decided" whether to allow Hensley to keep her job, one partner said, adding the decision will be a private matter between them and Hensley. "We're kind of the ones taking the brunt of this. People were just irate. We just don't want this to go on."

What began Tuesday, July 25, as an argument over a questionable parking job by three Muslim women in the parking lot of the 13th Avenue South Walmart quickly escalated.

Hensley of Mapleton, N.D., told the women in the car, "We're going to kill all of ya."

Looking directly at a cell phone camera held by the 21-year-old Hassan, Hensley said, "We're going to kill every single one of you (expletive) Muslims."

On Thursday, Police Chief David Todd brought Hassan and her sister, Leyla Hassan, together with Hensley to encourage forgiveness and understanding in the matter. The women exchanged tears, regrets, hugs, apologies and personal stories.

Calls requesting comment from Hensley were not returned Friday.

Helmut Schmidt

Helmut Schmidt was born in Germany, but grew up in the Twin Cities area, graduating from Park High School of Cottage Grove. After serving a tour in the U.S. Army, he attended the University of St. Thomas in St Paul, Minn., graduating in 1984 with a degree in journalism. He then worked at the Albert Lea (Minn.) Tribune and served as managing editor there for three years. He joined The Forum in October 1989, working as a copy editor until 2000. Since then, he has worked as a reporter on several beats, including K-12 education, Fargo city government, criminal justice, and military affairs. He is currently one of The Forum's business reporters.

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