Somali gangs in Minneapolis? Open warfare?

Clan warfare maybe, but gangs too?   

This is the second ‘Somali watch’ post I promised this morning, thanks to our unofficial Somali researcher, blulitespecial.

This story from the Minneapolis Star Tribune is from the end of June and we missed it, as did most of you,  because these stories do not make it to the national media—it goes against most reporters’ notion of the beauty of cultural diversity.

Police and a Somali leader [where do we know him from?] met with members of the Somali community Friday to seek their help to find suspects in four unsolved slayings of Somali men since December in Minneapolis and Brooklyn Center.

Open warfare!

Brooklyn Center police Cmdr. Stu Robinson and Minneapolis Lt. Amelia Huffman, head of the homicide unit, told the group that police can’t solve the killings without community help.

“I was begging them to have their people come forward,” Robinson said. “Unless they step up, the cycle will continue and there will be more people dying in their community. It’s no different than other communities.”

Some Somalis at the meeting said they fear talking to police because of immigration status. [Ed:  What the heck, I thought they were all here legally!]   “I said we don’t ask and don’t care,” Robinson said. “We want to help stop the violence in your community and the greater community, that includes Brooklyn Center.”

Jamal [Omar Jamal, executive director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center] said word in the Somali community is that friends of Jama [one of the guys who was murdered] think they know the shooter and may try to kill him. He said he encouraged people to give tips on the suspect to police instead because “it is almost like open warfare right now among the Somali minors and youth. We are deeply troubled.”

As I read this story I wondered if some of these gang members went over to Postville, Iowa in the recent migration for meatpacking jobs.

Then there is this:

Jamal said some of his people are afraid Somali gangs are involved and may retaliate if members of the community name suspects. Some hide suspects who are in their clans, as they did in Somalia, and sometimes try to smuggle them out of the country, Jamal said.

So, in addition to gangs we now have clans!   And, then I wondered, if they can smuggle them out of the country are they also smuggling them in?  Hum!

Endnote:  I thought I recognized the name Omar Jamal.  You can read all about him here.  He was defending the Somali Hallway Rapist last summer whose violent act was caught on camera.   Busy guy, Jamal, wonder if he got the rapist freed.   Does anyone know?

Refugee Awareness blog!

I just came across this blog entitled Refugee Archives Current Awareness Blog and it looks like a great source for news on refugees.  It apparently comes from the Refugee Studies program at the University of East London (oh brother!), but nonetheless looks like it is getting information out that I am not seeing elsewhere.  There are two articles today on the Iraqi internally displaced people—an issue not being honestly covered by the mainstream media.

By the way, you may want to occasionally visit our category ‘where to find information.’

Somalis on the march to Postville, Iowa

Update:   I only posted this a few minutes ago and already the story is changing.  See the Des Moines Register and note that the bloom is already off the rose at Agriprocessors.   Teach me to read all my e-mail from Blulitespecial before I write!

I have a pair of Somali stories for you this morning, both thanks to Blulitespecial, this is the first one.

Do you all recognize the town of Postville?  It is where the Kosher meat packing plant is, Agriprocessors, the one raided by the feds in May where 389 Hispanic illegal immigrants were found working.

Word of the raid reached Minneapolis, home of the largest Somali population in the US, and Somali men are now flocking to Postville to fill the jobs vacated by the illegal workers, some of whom were apparently underaged according to a story in the New York Times two days ago.  (Sorry, you will have to google that story, the link is screwy).

Here is what the Minneapolis Star Tribune is reporting:

POSTVILLE, Iowa – Scores of Somali immigrants are taking jobs at the nation’s largest kosher meatpacking plant, replacing Hispanic workers arrested in a huge immigration raid and forcing a remote Iowa town to make another cultural shift.

Before the May 12 raid at Agriprocessors, hundreds of Mexican and Guatemalan immigrants maintained a vibrant community in little Postville, a largely white community of 2,200 people in far northeast Iowa.

Now the stoops and haunts once occupied by Hispanics are being filled by about 150 Somali men.

The $13 an hour offered by Agriprocessors is drawing workers away from Tyson’s Food which has been the primary employer (Swifts too) herding Somalis from city to city and causing disruptions in places like Shelbyville, TN and Emporia, KS.

Regardless of previous claims, Somali workers such as Hassam Jilmale said he left work at a Tyson plant in Nebraska because he heard he could make more money with better conditions at Agriprocessors.

If the New York Times allegations are true, one of you volag do-gooders should be warning Hassam.

Then there is this comment by a Somali from Minneapolis involved in legal aid for Somalis.  Mark my words there will soon be special arrangements for Muslim prayer at the Jewish meatpacking plant:

“They go to these places and they’re not well equipped …” he said. “They do not speak the language. They do not know their legal rights and they live in fear of losing their jobs. They need someone who can bridge the two levels and balance the interests but they are not there.”

Then finally toward the end of the article is some mention of the town and its people.

The new Somali residents seem fine, but he [town resident] fears there is only so much upheaval the town can take.

“We’re just always adjusting and it’s scary, it’s hard,” he said. “We get all these new people and we don’t know who they are.”

Dear residents of Postville, to know what you are in for, read our archived stories on Shelbyville, TN here.  And, our category on the Somali controversy that swirled in Emporia, KS here.