I told you (here) how surprised I was a week or so ago to learn that some Somali Muslims had the guts to protest against the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the actions it has undertaken that some claim undermine FBI investigations into the Somali missing youths. My estimation of Omar Jamal had actually gone up a bit! A Somali political activist, Farheen Hakeem now informs us that anti-CAIR protesters were not really representing the Somali “community.”
Omar Jamal, Executive Director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center, is the go-to guy for media coverage of Somalis in Minnesota. But does he really speak for Minnesota’s Somali community?
Last week, Jamal participated in a protest accusing Minnesota’s only Muslim civil rights organization, the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) of impeding an investigation into the missing Somali youth. The protest was organized by Abdirizak Bihi, Jamal’s colleague and an uncle of Burhan Hassan, one of the missing Somali young men.
I, unfortunately, know Bihi all too well. When I ran for Mayor* of Minneapolis, I caught Bihi, who was working for McLaughlin’s campaign, running around the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood telling Somalis not to vote for me because “she is a lesbian.” This didn’t damage my campaign because I actually received more votes. It did however completely kill my romantic life (don’t get me started). I know who I am so I could care less of others’ opinion of my sexuality, but I was appalled that Bihi would use hate toward the GLBT community to gain political power.
Hakeem: Jamal and Bihi run amok when accusing the mosque of involvement in the case.
Not surprisingly, Bihi’s irresponsible tactics against the Somali community have also found their way into the media. In a WCCO interview, Bihi said, “They [Abuubakar Islamic Center] curse us [Burhan’s family]. Call us infidels, because simply we spoke up for our son…Now we can say yes, that they do have something to do with it because they’re always acting out in a sinister way.”
Faheen says in no way does the protest against CAIR represent the “community.” Darn, I had high hopes for the “community” when they did protest CAIR!
Bihi and Jamal definitely have a right to speak for themselves, but speaking for the thousands of Somalis in Minnesota will warrant questioning of their intent, credibility and integrity. They must be held accountable to their statements. The protest against the civil rights group received media coverage. The Star Tribune’s headline read, “Somalis take to the street to protest group’s actions.” Did the protest really represent the Somali community?
According to a press conference the following Saturday, organized by over a dozen local Somali organizations, it did not.
United Somali Movement Vice President Aman Obsiye said, “All [CAIR] is saying is that Somali-Americans are equal to all other Americans. We have the same civil rights as other Americans have…These attacks on CAIR are not from the Somali community.”
Well, that is a bummer.
*Mayor of Minneapolis? Hummm! Hoping to be one of the 30 Muslim Mayors of American cities that Yahya Hendi told the Saudis about here. See also my recent post on Somali community centers and the stealth jihad, here.
For new readers, the US State Department has admitted over 80,000 Somali refugees to the US in the last 25 years and then last year had to suspend family reunification because widespread immigration fraud was revealed through DNA testing.