My first thought when I saw yet another federal raid (here is one last June) of a Somali business in Lewiston, ME is that I can’t wait for the Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence to bring their everything-is-wonderful-in-Lewiston dog and pony show to Frederick, MD!
For readers not familiar with that story, go here, where we learned that the ‘Hate Violence’ gang from Portland, ME got a federal grant to come and lecture citizens of Frederick, MD (Manchester, NH, Boise, ID and Ft. Wayne, IN too) about how Lewiston was a showcase for immigrant assimilation!
Here then is the latest sensational story in the Sun Journal from ‘little Mogadishu’ Lewiston. You will see it isn’t clear why agents raided the store, but it’s likely related to money transfer to Africa (to terrorists?).
LEWISTON — Federal agents raided a local grocer Friday, apparently serving the owner with a search warrant.
Agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement converged on the Bartlett Street store and stayed for about four hours, arriving shortly before 10 a.m. and leaving shortly before 2 p.m.
Agents packed up about eight boxes of evidence from A & R Halal Market and hauled them out to the back seat of an unmarked car, a black Chevrolet Impala with Massachusetts license plates.
An agent whose windbreaker identified him as a member of the Criminal Investigation Division of the U.S. Department of the Treasury said he had driven to Lewiston on Thursday night and stayed overnight at a local hotel.
An unidentified federal agent carried a computer hard drive and printer to his unmarked Impala police car, also with Massachusetts plates, and drove away.
A woman who said she was planning to open an Ethiopian restaurant next door said the apparent owner of the market, identified by acquaintances as Ali Hassan Haji, had owned the business for about eight years. Calls to Haji’s phone were not returned.
Haji arrived at the store late morning and met with agents there before leaving for a local mosque. He returned to the store later in the day. The vehicle he drove, a black Nissan Xterra, was registered to Roda Abdi of Lewiston.
Abdi was referenced in Sun Journal stories as the owner of the market in 2003.
One of the many interesting comments was this one from Jo—a question I’ve been wondering about too!
I find it odd there are so many African stores, one right after the other, up and down Lisbon St, and other parts of the city. They all appear to sell the same things, as evidenced by the displays of cloth blocking the windows. How do they remain viable with so many of the same type of stores? Especially when WalMart appears to be the shopping place of choice. They all advertise the ability to wire money, though. It doesn’t make sense…at all.
Raids occured in Muslim wire transfer stores in Portland, home of the Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence gang, yesterday as well.
To citizens of Maine: If I lived in Maine I would be hounding Senator Susan Collins about all these money transfer businesses sending money to Africa. She sits on the Senate Homeland Security Committee and she should be concerned about this practice.
While you are at it, ask her how this Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence can get a federal grant to lecture other cities in the US about their immigrant populations using untruths about Lewiston as an example for other cities.
One more thing! Ask her if IDA’s (federal grants/microloans for refugees) are being used to open these storefront Somali money transfer stores in Maine. And, LOL!, tell her to thank Obama for the stepped up raids. I think we are seeing more under the Obama Administration then we did under Bush!