Local Somalis feel threatened by Sprint ads featuring weapons

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Local Somali leader Abdi Bihi tells Fox 9 a community elder contacted him to share concerns about Sprint ads being mailed to Minneapolis residences.

The ads show a variety of weapons -- a machete, butcher knife, chainsaw, and sword, among others -- and ask, "Wanna cut your monthly Verizon or AT&T bill in half?"

:::: UPDATE :::: Sprint responds to Somali concerns about ad campaign

The mailers clearly aren't meant to be threatening, but Bihi says that's exactly how Somalis who lack English skills and see their names and addresses printed on them feel.

"There's a tremendous amount of cultural language barrier," Bihi says. "I was called by one of the businessmen in the community who has a business at [Karmel Square], and he had to meet with elders who were complaining about this. They were hysterical, thought they were being threatened."

Bihi said the elder he spoke with wanted him to share the concerns he and other Somalis have about the mailers with the media.

Asked who the Somali elders think would be threatening them, Bihi says, "They don't know who, maybe there are some bad people out to murder us, because some... All they can read are the pictures and their names and addresses, and because of the background they came from they just assume someone is out to get them."

Sprint officials didn't immediately return emails and a voicemail seeking comment.