Somali boy in Ft. Morgan, CO:
“This is the United States….. Everyone can come.”
I haven’t written about the “welcoming” city of Ft. Morgan in a long time. In 2005 a large number of Somalis got the word that Cargill meatpacking was the place to work and have been flooding into the city ever since. Just search RRW for ‘Ft. Morgan’ and you will see what I mean.
However, now comes a HUGE article in the Denver Post spinning so hard to prove it’s all just going great with the Somali “community” in Ft. Morgan. I have to laugh because for every ‘problem’ the reporter tells us about it’s followed by a big BUT—but, everything is working out just fine, problem solved! Everyone is happy! Move along!
Below are bits from this feature story entitled, ‘Somali Muslims finding a place in Ft. Morgan.’ (for all the ‘buts’ below, return to the Denver Post).
An estimated 1,000 to 1,200 Somalis — most of them refugees — now live here, drawn by employment at Cargill in the last six years.
Their arrival has provided a test for both them and the town in an era of economic uncertainty and raised tensions after 9/11.
The police chief, school superintendent and other community leaders have smoothed the waters by attempting to counter fears with facts and build bridges with a Somali community that is fragmented.
Still, difficulties have arisen over the accommodation of Muslim prayer at school and in the workplace, the support they get from the government, their loitering and poor driving — and a murder.
BUT, everything is getting better….
[You see that mention of the murder—the reporter references me! You will see further in the story.]
The spread of Islam in the U.S. is very much a story of immigration. College students, doctors and engineers came decades ago. The latest migration from poorer African nations is different, creating a new Muslim underclass of plant workers and cabdrivers.
BUT, it’s o.k., this is America everything will be fine—a Muslim underclass, nothing to worry about!
Word had been spreading in the Somali expatriate community about work at the Cargill plant in Fort Morgan, where wages that start at $13.25 an hour, plus benefits, beckoned — and no English or experience was required.
“It was like, all of a sudden, boom, here they are,” said Steve Dunn, the owner of a downtown shoe store.
Police Chief Keith Kuretich started to field complaints: Groups of 30 Somali men were loitering and littering outside a store. Somalis were haggling over price at Walmart and holding up checkout lines. Their driving was dangerously bad.
BUT, everything will be o.k. because the Police Chief “cares” and he has assured the citizens that he will take care of all the problems.
Real problems, however, do exist, including two or three domestic violence cases. Abdinasser Ahmed, a college-educated Somali who works at the middle school, said beating one’s wife is accepted in Somalia and the community here must discourage it.
That might be part of our culture, BUT, it’s o.k. we are going to stop beating our wives in America!
Then this is infuriating! What a lazy sack of a reporter!
On Nov. 3, 2009, a Somali man from Greeley fatally stabbed his 27-year-old Somali ex-girlfriend in a Fort Morgan apartment hallway — the eighth homicide in the city since 2000 at that time.
An out-of-town website [he means me!—ed] that is critical of refugee resettlement spun tales of an honor killing. Kuretich dismissed that characterization, describing it as a domestic incident unrelated to religion or ethnicity.
BUT, only a little domestic violence, nothing to see here, move along!
The Ft. Morgan Times reported at the time that the murder victim was the step sister of the murderer—NOT his girlfriend! The link is no longer available because the whole story was buried and the murderer took a plea bargain and was quietly slipped away to prison (or at least I hope that is where he is!).
This is precisely what the Ft. Morgan Times said in February of 2010 (glad I posted it here):
Ahmed Abdi of Greeley entered a not guilty plea in Morgan County District Court on Monday in the Nov. 3, 2009 stabbing death of Warsen Aden Abdi, 27, in an apartment hallway in Fort Morgan.
He is accused of second-degree murder and first- and second-degree assault in the stabbing death of his stepsister.
You see this politically-correct police chief can explain a boyfriend killing a former girlfriend but it gets a lot harder to explain a brother killing a sister. By the way, since those first few news accounts in early 2010 the whole story disappeared from Colorado news pages.
Now here comes the real villain of this story! And, she watches FOX News! Ahhhh!
If there is a go-to voice for anti-refugee sentiment in Fort Morgan, it is Candice Loomis.
She owns Frankie’s Coffee House, where Christmas lights dangle from the ceiling and Fox News is always on. [She is probably a Tea Partier too!—ed]
In 2009, Loomis crafted a petition that chided the government for giving refugees financial support and portrayed Somali refugees as lazy freeloaders who refuse to learn English and talk rudely on cellphones.
She said about 630 people signed it. It was a symbolic gesture. [Perhaps I missed it, but I never did see any news in the PC Ft. Morgan Times about this petition, did anyone else?]
“It scares me that it only took a few radical Muslims to bring down two buildings, and we’ve brought hundreds of thousands of them here (to the United States),” Loomis said in a recent interview.
BUT, it’s O.K. because Candice, the FOX News fan, is mellowing.
Problems in the schools
When the new faces started arriving at Fort Morgan High School, Karen Liston found herself teaching kids how to hold pencils, form letters and raise their hands.
The simple task of opening a locker turned into a 20-minute tutorial on numbers, the sequence of turning left and right, and combinations.
The sudden influx of Somali families — and, later, other East Africans — tested a rural public school system with limited resources. Some students had been schooled in Kenyan refugee camps. Others, especially older ones, were illiterate in their own language and had little formal school background.
Morgan County schools Superintendent Greg Wagers said the district has sought “a proactive and reasoned approach” to an African-refugee population that continues to grow.
By the end of the 2010-11 school year, the district counted 62 students who spoke Somali, 13 who spoke Swahili, six who spoke Tigrigna (an Eritrean language), two who spoke Amharic (predominantly Ethiopian) and one who spoke Kinyarwanda (Rwandan).
This year, the district shifted around resources to start a “newcomers center” with accelerated English courses and remediation for “over-age and under-credited” middle and high school students.
BUT, everything will work out because the local school system is now pouring tons of money into programs to help the kids.
Don’t you just wonder if maybe Cargill which benefits from the refugee labor might just pay for some of this? But, I digress.
Back to the Denver Post and demands for religious accommodation in the schools:
Like other school districts with large numbers of Muslim students, Morgan County also sought to strike a balance accommodating midday prayer.
The high school set aside auditorium balcony space, segregated by gender, during lunch to ensure the school schedule was not disrupted, Wagers said.
Some citizens complained that the district was endorsing Muslim practice or giving Muslims special treatment. That prompted Wagers to write a three-page memo to the board of education and the community that included a primer on Islam and the legal framework for the district’s approach.
The scrutiny revealed that some teachers were wrongly letting students out of class to pray, Wagers said. Since then, he said, “it’s been quiet. We just had to find the middle ground.”
But, everything is fine now! We have accommodated “middle ground” Shariah Law in our school system!
And, as one kid who had been bullied by “Mexican and white guys” who told him to go back to his **** country said:
“This is the United States,” he said when asked how that felt. “Everyone can come.”
Finally we have the story of Amina Barkhadel (who is living with three men not related to her—-I guess she is Americanized now!).
Poor Somali mama had $8,500 just kicking around to buy her daughter an illegal trip to America!
Back in Somalia, she worked in a little shop. In 2008, men in masks with guns came in and killed her 25-year-old brother and hit her.
Her grieving mother gave her $8,500 to pay an English-speaking man to pose as her husband and get her out of the country — to Dubai, Guatemala and Mexico.
She ultimately made her way to the U.S. border. After spending time in Mexican and U.S. immigration jails, she won asylum status in a court hearing.
She worked as a hotel maid in Southern California until friends told her about work at Cargill in Fort Morgan.
Readers, you can be sure this is not the end of the “welcoming” Ft. Morgan story!