The cities of Minneapolis and St. Cloud will be the sites of Somali independence day celebrations over the weekend. Local Somalis have planned the festivals to celebrate their homeland’s independence, and to pay homage to the United States — the country that has given refugees the opportunity to start a new life.
In the three years that government and rebel forces have been battling in Syria, more than 100,000 people have been killed. Many of the deceased are innocent civilians who are cut down by crossfire or suicide bombings.
The FBI in Minneapolis said Tuesday it is seeking the public’s help in tracking down anyone who may have left Minnesota to fight in Syria, and it is reaching out to the state’s large Somali population to try to stop the potential travels of youth who are most vulnerable to terror recruiting.
This Sunday, thousands will take part in the Minneapolis Marathon in both the full and half versions. One participant, Fadumo Mohamed, will be running to inspire others and change the perception of the typical runner.
In Minneapolis, four teachers are going way beyond what is expected in order to close a cultural gap. The teachers work at Anne Sullivan Communication Center, an elementary and middle school on East 28th Street in Minneapolis. There, 60 percent of the students are Somali.
Al-Shabab uses Internet videos to convince Minnesota men to come back to Somalia. But now, a Somali youth group is fighting back with a documentary of their own.
St. Paul Police welcomed the first Somali female officer to the department on Saturday. Kadra Mohamed joined the department as part of its community liaison program. Kenyan-born Mohamed graduated from Central High School in 2010. She will graduate from St. Cloud State with a criminal justice degree in May, but she got her badge Saturday and spoke some words of wisdom to future recruits.
Barkhad Abdi, the Somali immigrant who was a Twin Cities limo driver before playing a pirate in “Captain Phillips,” won an award at the British Academy Awards over the weekend. Abdi was named best supporting actor, edging Michael Fassbender in “12 Years a Slave” and Bradley Cooper in “American Hustle.”
For years, parents in the Somali community in Minneapolis have said autism is unusually common in their kids. Now, a University of Minnesota study confirms those claims. The study used data from 2010 to determine if more Somali kids, ages seven to nine, had autism than other kids in the state’s largest city. Idil Abdul has a son with autism. “I knew what they said today in 2008,” Abdul said.
A new Twin Cities museum is showcasing Somali art and culture. The Somali Artifact and Cultural Museum opened Saturday and features paintings of nomadic life and photos of Mogadishu along with traditional rugs, ancient writing tablets and lots of items made from animal skins.
Some of the Minnesota Somali actors who made their debut in “Captain Phillips” will appear at a red-carpet screening of the movie in St. Paul.
A newly discovered actor from Minneapolis is already getting some Oscar buzz, even though his movie hasn’t opened in local theaters yet. Captain Phillips tells the true-life story about a band of Somali pirates who overtook an American cargo ship in 2009.
A rookie actor from the Twin Cities — who is relatively unknown right now — is about to become very famous starting next week.
This week, as network television crews descended on the Twin Cities to report on the still unconfirmed Minnesota connection to the Kenyan mall attack, young Somalis, most of them American citizens, felt they were being seen, just because of their ethnicity, as supporters of the terror group al-Shabaab.
The FBI is investigating to see if Minnesotans and Americans were involved in the terrorist attack at a Kenya mall. But so far FBI Agent Kyle Loven said there is no specific evidence that Minnesotans were part of the attack.