Friday, July 3, 2009

Somali-American Rally in Protest Against Terrorism in Minneapolis Today: Probably

The protest rally organized by people in the Somali-American community of Minneapolis, Minnesota, should have been going for about an hour and ten minutes now, with just under two hours to go.

But it's not in the news. Or, rather, some mention of the protest rally showed up in distinctly back-page items. I discussed a possible reason for this high level of reticence shown by the press yesterday. (July 2, 2009)

It's possible that reporters and editors are waiting for the protest to be over, before mentioning it.

While looking for a reference to the Somali-American community's rally in traditional news media, I found a few more-or-less related items.

Mshale ("the African Community Newspaper") confronted the possible involvement of the Abubakar Islamic Center / Abubakar As-Saddique mosque in the disappearance of about 20 young Minnesota men.
"Despite fears of distractions from the missing Somali youth saga that has engulfed the Somali community in Minnesota, the Abubakar As-Saddique Islamic Center held its 9th Annual Convention at the Minneapolis Convention Center over the weekend where thirty speakers addressed 10,000 people over three days. Participants said it was encouraging to see the number of attendees, the breadth of topics, and the scope of talent.

"Despite a tumultuous year, the mosque saw increased attendance at this year's convention and a spike in monetary support...." (Mshale)
Fair enough. The apparent connection between the Abubakar Islamic center / mosque and disappearing Minnesotans may be a perfect storm of coincidences. We'll know more when details of indictments become public knowledge.

Whatever I think of their editorial position, my hat's off to Mshale for confronting the issue, instead of presenting the old formula of tears, FBI harassment and misunderstood victim that Minnesota Public Radio seems to be maintaining. (July 1, 2009)

Somali-Americans: Not Your Standard-Issue Minorities

I think two articles I found about a recent fire in Minneapolis illustrate why Somali-Americans in Minnesota may present a difficult problem for traditional American journalists.

KARE-11, a local television station, and the Minneapolis Saint Paul Business Journal covered a fire which destroyed three small businesses near Peavey Park, where that rally was scheduled. All three were owned by Somalis. Nobody was killed, but being burned out of your business is far from good news: and eight people had to move out of their homes in a hurry.

The fire is being investigated, of course. It appears to have started outside the buildings - but that doesn't necessarily mean arson. There seems to have been a party going on at the time, and people at parties have been known to do daft or careless things.

The point isn't whether the Somalis whose lives were disrupted represent what serious thinkers of the 19th century would have called a 'criminal class,' or what socially-conscious thinkers of the 20th century would have labeled 'victims of hate crimes.' What I see are people who are where my ancestors were a few generations back.

Except these particular Somalis are business owners instead of farmers and laborers.

I can't help but wonder if traditional American journalists - particularly senior editors, who grew up in the same world of relevance and peace symbols that I did - are sincerely puzzled about what angle to take in articles on this new minority.

I've gotten a bit off-topic in this post: but as a Minnesotan, I think that what affects my new neighbors affects me, too. And, I am not at all convinced that the latest wave of immigrants is getting any better treatment in the traditional press than the non-Anglo people who came before them.

Finally, quite a few Somali-Americans came to live in Minnesota because they found it easiest to get the sort of jobs my ancestors held. There aren't so many hod-carriers these days, but jobs in Minnesota's poultry industry serve the same function for newcomers whose command of English isn't quite up to speed.

Related posts: In the news:

No comments:

Unique, innovative candles

Visit us online:
Spiral Light CandleFind a Retailer
Spiral Light Candle Store


Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.