MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Minnesota is one of the top recruitment places in the nation for extremist groups, but Thursday night a group of moms and community leaders are trying to change that.
A long list of politicians attended the meeting at the Sabathani Community Center, including Governor Mark Dayton.
To set the stage, some Somali activists briefly touched on some of the deep seeded problems plaguing the Somali community right now.
“Right now the division in this country is ridiculous, we feel left out. I'm a Minnesotan first. It doesn't matter where I came from,” said Asma Jama, a victim of hate crime.” Everyone knows I'm an immigrant. But I'm a Minnesotan now as I stand here. I'm sorry we already feel like we are left out like we don't matter.”
This meeting was part of a series of community meetings hosted by the group called Voice of East African Women.
The goal is to provide opportunities for members of the Somali community to be able interact and voice concerns to elected officials
Community members, women, and elders touched on a range of concerns including Islamaphobia, terror recruitment of Somali youth and how to stop it, and a need for after school programs for kids. They also discussed concerns about poverty and unemployment within the Somali community and, especially, ongoing problems with hate crimes.
“There is no tolerance all for hate crimes and for people to discriminate against other people, religion, or race or anything else,” said Governor Mark Dayton. “As the fundamental freedom of this country we have freedom of religion. Those that can't understand that they are the ones that need to leave, not the people that are here now.”