Somalis spreading to Minnesota small towns, opening businesses with your tax dollars

When I saw this story this morning in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, I jumped into it.  I thought great! now some reporter is going to tell us where the money is coming from to set up all these specialized Somali shops (11 of them in one town) when the Somali population is under 2000 (max) in that featured town.   No such luck!  No one ever investigates that question!

If Americans cannot open and make profitable stores on main street America, where are the immigrants getting all that money?????

Here is the story about Minnesota, little Somalia:

Once the henna artist arrives, business will really take off, Yonis Hajisaid said.

One of downtown Willmar’s newest entrepreneurs, he owns the Nuura Shop, the latest Somali-owned business to open in downtown Willmar in the past five years.

The change from a barber shop to a henna and perfume parlor is a sign of how new immigrants are transforming business districts outstate just as they have along some main streets in Minneapolis and St. Paul.


The vast majority of the 11 African-owned businesses in Willmar surveyed are stores; they sell everything from food to books to gifts to housewares.  [the first one to open sold goat meat—ed]

….from 2005 to 2010, the number of ethnic-owned businesses in the Willmar area has jumped from 3 to 42.

Who are they kidding?  Henna and perfume will pay the rent, the insurance, the workman’s comp., salaries etc.

They came to Willmar originally lured by meatpacking jobs (what else!):

Drawn to Willmar because of jobs at the Jennie-O meatpacking plants, a growing number of Somali immigrants are calling this west-central Minnesota town home and opening small businesses on the side.

The official count says 700 of Willmar’s 19,610 residents are originally from Somalia, but city officials and Somali community leaders say the real number is at least 2,000. The city’s Latino population has leveled off at 4,099 according to the latest U.S. census data.

In cities such as Rochester and Faribault, too, new immigrants have arrived, adding new flavors and customers to downtown areas.

“Main Streets in many smaller Minnesota communities have not fared so well the last 25 or 30 years,” said Bill Blazar, an executive at the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. “The growth of immigrant populations and the businesses that are a direct result really are a shot in the arm. They’re an economic development program.”

The changes have also created angst for some residents.  [I’ll bet it has!–ed]

The African Development Center is responsible.

African Development Center seems to have the connections to get you (Muslim immigrants) bucks.  And,  they use Shariah finance (called Murabaha) as well (Muslims are forbidden to pay interest).

In a nod to the growing Somali presence in outstate communities, a Minneapolis-based agency that offers technical support to help African immigrants run their businesses has planted flags in Willmar and Rochester.

Yusuf Ahmed heads up the Willmar branch office of the African Development Center of Minnesota, which opened downtown last September. The building, painted a vivid green and orange, stands out among the red-bricked edifices surrounding it.

You can check out the African Development Center’s (ADC) website here where they have a pretty impressive list of financial backers.  But, it does make you wonder if there is a special comparable loan agency called perhaps the Poor Americans Development Center helping regular old Americans open shops especially as we learn that the largest chunk of ADC funding comes from you!  the taxpayer via government grants.

See their 2010 Form 990 here.   Out of an income stream of $1.5 million that year, $841,000 came from you! (p. 9 govt. grants).   They paid out over a half million in compensation to officers, salaries and other benefits.

Just get used to it!

Somali sidewalk conventions are here to stay….

One always has to read to the end of these giddy stories about immigrant success to find out that everything is not so rosy with the local folks.    Another town experiencing a similar ‘renaissance’ in its downtown is Faribault.

Still, the new Faribault has been an adjustment for some residents.

“For a small town in southern Minnesota, to have this type of immigrant growth, it is a cultural shock to us a little bit,” Ross said. “It’s neither good nor bad. It’s just different.”

Large groups of Somali men tend to congregate at day’s end on downtown Faribault sidewalks, speaking Somali and often not moving out of the way for others walking by. The practice has annoyed and even intimidated some people in town, said Ross, who was prompted to write about the issue last week in a mass e-mail that was republished in the local newspaper.

“That’s the way they get together and exchange information,” he said of the Somali sidewalk conventions. “They get together and they really talk. We’re not used to seeing large groups congregating in public areas like that. We have to get used to how each other operates.”

So, you think the Shariah isn’t here already!

An afterthought!  Wouldn’t it be funny for a white American guy to go to the African Development Council for help securing a business loan or just help to set up a business and see if you were turned away.

The Saudis are hypocrites on Rohingya

Readers:  Why should you care about what is happening in far away Burma’s internal affairs?  Because the humanitarian grievance lobby is working overtime to make the West think that the only solution in the end will be for more Rohingya “refugees” coming to your town with the help of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and other federal refugee contractors.

I wasn’t planning to write another post so soon on the Rohingya problem, but I can’t stand the hypocrisy of the Saudi government and its megaphone—-The Saudi Gazette.

But, here they are pontificating in an editorial on the plight of the allegedly poor persecuted Rohingya in Burma and Bangladesh when there are abundant reports about Muslim Rohingya living in hell in RICH Saudi Arabia.

Here is the hypocritical Saudi Gazette:

WILL Amnesty International’s latest report, released on Friday, open the eyes of the world community to the sad plight of the Rohingya in Myanmar before it is too late?    [Someone! Give them a hanky!—ed]

Mostly concentrated in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state, they have always suffered persecution and discrimination at the hands of local authorities or the majority Buddhists, sometimes both acting in unison. Many have fled the country to escape persecution, mostly to Bangladesh. Nearly 600,000 Rohingya Muslims live in Saudi Arabia, according to one estimate.  [Note here in Demographics of Saudi Arabia there is no mention of any significant number of Burmese—ed]


Far too long the world community has behaved as though this is a problem concerning only neighboring Bangladesh because of ethnic affinity between Bengalis and the Rohingya. This has only made Myanmar more intransigent and the Rohingya more vulnerable to abuses of every conceivable kind. Amnesty’s latest findings, we hope, will enable the world community to see the problem in right perspective and come out with appropriate solutions.  [LOL! The only thing the Saudis want you to see is that Muslims are the victims—always the victims!–ed]

Meanwhile, we reported previously about allegations that thousands of Rohingya men, women and children are residing in Jeddah prisons, here.

Now check out The Sail, a pro-Rohingya on-line publication on the treatment of Rohingya in Saudi Arabia (Saudi Arabia mistreats Rohingya).

About 3,000 Rohingya families are awaiting deportation in Saudi prisons, but like the rest of their people, they have nowhere to go.

They have been described as some of the world’s most persecuted refugees, and among the most forgotten, too. During my imprisonment in Jeddah I saw and met hundreds of inmates from Burma.

Thousands of Burmese Muslims from Arakan – often called Rohingyas – were offered a safe haven in Saudi Arabia by the late King Faisal, but with the change in monarch the rules changed too. What was to have been a permanent abode of peace for these uprooted people has now turned into a chamber of horrors.


But the interesting question is: where will they be sent when they are eventually deported? Burma doesn’t want them. Bangladesh, with a large population and poor economy, doesn’t have the inclination or the ability to handle a refugee population of this size. The Rohingyan refugees in Bangladesh are having a rough time as it is. Other Muslim countries play silent spectators.


The late King Faisal’s decision to offer them a permanent abode in Saudi Arabia was a noble gesture. However, later Saudi rulers have found the Burmese Muslims a thorn in their side. With strict regulation on their employment and movement within the kingdom, they are easy targets for extortion and torture.

There are said to be about 250,000 Burmese Muslims in Saudi Arabia – the majority living in Mecca’s slums (Naqqasha and Kudai). They sell vegetables, sweep streets and work as porters, carpenters and unskilled labour. The fortunate ones rise to become drivers.

In Saudi Arabia it is not uncommon for poor Rohingyas to marry off their young (sometimes underage) daughters to old and sick Saudis in the hope of getting “official favours”. But this hasn’t worked for many. Rohingyan wives of Saudi men, who have to survive as second class human beings on the periphery of society.

Those whom I met in Jeddah prisons seem to have accepted the situation as a fait accompli. But it is unfortunate that they are being made to suffer in a country considered to be the citadel of Islam.

So much for the much ballyhooed Muslim charity. 

And, by the way, the Saudis send Somali asylum seekers back to Somalia on a regular basis.  As far as I know the chickens at the Obama State Department are silent about this.

And one more thing, since it appears most Rohingya in Saudi Arabia are from Bangladesh, here is a post that might be somewhat edifying from March of this year.

Saudi Arabia authorities are closely observing Bangladeshi expatriate workers as some of them were allegedly involved in various criminal offences in the Gulf kingdom, according to a Bangladesh minister.

“At the moment they (Saudis) are not willing to recruit workers from Bangladesh until the crime tendency among Bangladeshi workers goes down,” Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain told reporters at Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka yesterday on his return from the Gulf country.

Mosharraf, who led a six-member delegation to Saudi Arabia, said involvement in crimes by a few Bangladeshi workers has damaged the image of the country.

So, here is the bottomline!  We should stay out of their business and out of their civil wars.  Let these RICH Muslim countries take care of their fellow Muslims.   We don’t need to be showing our generosity by importing Muslims rejected by Saudi Arabia! to the US.  In fact, Saudi Arabia should stop pouring so much money into the US for mosque building and instead take care of the suffering of Muslims in Muslim countries!

And, how dare the damn Saudis lecture any other country about human rights abuses.

New readers:  See our entire category, Rohingya Reports, for five years of background posts on the Rohingya.