A commenter on LGF, Terp Mole, linked to two articles in an “alternative” newspaper in Minneapolis. The stories — one from January, 2004 and the second from April, 2006 — cover the same ground: the problems Minneapolis is having with its Somali immigrant community. But how different in atmosphere these stories, separated by two years, have become.
The first is much longer, about three thousand words. And those words are carefully chosen for effect. You cannot help but notice the political leanings of its author and those he chooses to interview.
He begins his story with an angry anonymous email about the violence occurring in the Somali community around the West Bank:
“Somali violence has been happening on the West Bank since before Bush was elected. Somali youth travel in groups of six to 25. They carry unbroken beer bottles in their pockets to break later and use as weapons. They also use two by fours, tire irons etc. They are undeserving of our country and its values.”
“Somali elders are in denial. Teens have taken over Riverside Park and kids in my neighborhood rarely venture there anymore. The gangs are rude, uncivil and not quite human. They are cowards and like to hurt strangers while robbing them. They knock people down and beat them while stealing from them.”
The writer went on to describe an alleged incident late last year where a bartender from the Viking Bar was beaten up.
“He looked like an eggplant” and had to be taken to a hospital emergency room… The e-mail gives another example: “Some…South High School students were cooling off in the pool at Riverside Park after 10 p.m. They were surrounded by a group of 10 Somali ‘gangstas’ that terrorized them with threats of gang rape for about 10 minutes until the girls’ screams drove them away. Give me gangsters from Detroit and Gary (Indiana) any day. At least they only hurt each other. The West Bank is a war zone and it is because of our ridiculous immigration laws allowing masses of Third World refugees to move here from a culture that does not respect women, our laws, religion or values. They will never assimilate, they do not want to…”
The puzzle in the email is this: Somali violence has been happening on the West Bank since before Bush was elected. Does this non sequitur make sense to you? How are Bush and Somali immigrant violence in Minneapolis connected? Is Bush’s election somehow germane here?
Let’s go on.
The story proceeds to interviews and the writer doesn’t know whether the incidents he reports are indicative of a larger problem:
Based on these two incidents alone, one would get the impression that wild bands of Somali youth gangs are constantly roaming the streets of Cedar-Riverside wreaking havoc on all who stand in their way. But whether that perception is largely fact or fiction—reality or exaggeration—depends on who you talk to.
Fair enough. But then he makes a jump to this series of “facts”:
One thing is for sure: ongoing conflicts between Somali residents and law enforcement officials are having an impact on hundreds of immigrant teenagers with too much idle time on their hands.
The smoke from 9/11 is still rising from the ruins of that fateful September day. The Bush administration’s response to the attacks of September 11, 2001, has had a devastating impact on the safety and civil liberties of most Americans, but especially recent immigrants.
And the Twin Cities have been no exception. Annie Young puts it this way: “Thanks to George W. Bush and the war on terrorism for adding to the violence on the streets of America and right here in our own beautiful Minneapolis.”
So it is the fiend, Bush. I thought so. Had Bush not gone after terrorists where they live, why “beautiful Minneapolis” would be living in peace with its Somali immigrant community. Not only that, but the U.S. government —
“decided to crack down on some Muslim-run businesses it claimed were funneling money to terrorists soon after 9/11 it picked a Somali-run company next door to the North Country Co-op on Riverside Avenue…”
Do you notice how the U. S. government — the Bush cabal?— just “decides to crack down” on money laundering is simply “picks” a Somali-run company in the neighborhood. That’s the fascists for you — just random raids on law-abiding citizens.
This is not a journalist who did any background work on Somali money laundering, obviously.
So Minneapolis did what all blue cities do: it held a candlelight rally, just as they had in support of Mohammed A. Warsame, when he was picked on for alleged connections to Al Qadea. Here’s some information on Warsame, from The Center for Immigration Studies:
Mohammed Warsame was born in Somalia and sought refugee status in Canada in 1989. He became a naturalized Canadian citizen and moved to Minneapolis in 2002. He was arrested in December 2003 as a material witness in the Zacarias Moussaoui case. At the time of his arrest, he was a student at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. In January 2004, Warsame was indicted and charged with conspiracy to provide material support to al Qaeda. Warsame has admitted attending an al Qaeda training camp in 2000 and 2001 and receiving military training (weapons, martial arts). He attended lectures given by Bin Ladin and even sat next to him at a meal. Moreover, he fought with the Taliban and provided financial assistance to al Qaeda members in Pakistan once he had returned to the United States.
This is from a larger report on individual terrorists, Immigration and Terrorism: Moving Beyond the 9/11 Staff report on Terrorist Travel, 2005. You should see the company he kept.
But that is not our author’s intent. He wants to show us how these Somali youth aren’t to blame for their behavior:
The abundant and active Somali presence on the West Bank has manifested itself in another significant way. East African youth, caught between cultures and generations, and often seen congregating in groups, have been branded as gang members by some Cedar-Riverside residents—an accusation denied by most Somali leaders and law enforcement officials.
“Some of these troubled youth are drop-outs or homeless or have come from single parent households where they have not been adequately cared for, or may be living with relatives other than parents,” Fahia continues. “Some are bitter and angry about the civil war in their home country or over some personal issue. They all have had problems integrating into American culture. In Somali culture, for example, there are strict curfews and dating is not allowed like it is here. The problems usually start with lack of adequate parental supervision complicated by the fact that some youth learn English before their parents and then rebel against authority.”
City police officials with connections to the West Bank and/or Muslim community, don’t buy the “Somali gang” line. Luther Krueger, downtown-area community crime prevention specialist, claims that most reports on Somali gangs are “exaggerated.” For example, he says, “We get reports like ‘there was a gang of 40 Somalis beating up somebody’ from someone who may not like immigrants being here. When we ask them for names of victims, details on time, place, etc, they can’t provide that. There have been (lots of) rumors that have not panned out. It’s mainly fear-mongering. Somalis complain that they have been accused of loitering,” he says. “They loiter or congregate as part of their culture.”
So. It’s the parents, it’s the strange cultural changes, and it’s fear-mongering. But is it crime? Evidently not. Nor are the increase in car thefts, muggings, and violence any indication of a pattern. “Nothing to see here, move along.”
Finally, the author ends with this statement and a question to consider:
Providing youth programs and improving Somali-police relations are keys to preventing and stemming violence on the West Bank and elsewhere. But there is still the public perception to deal with. As Fahia puts it: “These are the same problems immigrants have faced ever since 9/11.” The question is: will the new generation of immigrants continue to bear this burden?
That was more than two years ago. Now, in April, 2006, the same reporter, Bert Berlowe, returns to the neighborhood. This time his story has 753 words instead of 3,000. The Somali representatives and the police aren’t willing to be interviewed for this go ’round, in stark contrast to their expansive views two years ago.
Mr. Berlowe returns to Palmer’s Bar. This was a scene of an alleged “gang” attack in his first article — an attack dismissed by the police as having been an exchange of heated words, an attack blamed on Bush back in 2004. Here’s what he says about his visit to the bar:
Doug Anderson was seated on a stool at the bar finishing a drink, and gazing out from behind a thick white beard. Anderson has a long history on the West Bank. He was a political revolutionary during the turbulent 1960s, one of the organizers of a “new American city” movement. After a period away from the neighborhood, he has been back for 15 years, and now lives in an apartment above the Viking Bar. He has one other less desirable distinction. He has been a recent victim of a Somali gang.
Anderson shifts his glance and tells me how it happened. “One night a few weeks ago I was by the outside door of my apartment about to go in when I was attacked by three black youths and knocked out. That’s the first time that’s ever happened to me. They were wearing hoods so I couldn’t identify them. But someone later told me they were Somali youth. Now, every time I’m out and about I’m careful. I think they know who I am.”
Marty Johnson, a Viking bar employee and longtime West Bank resident happened to be in Palmers’ that day. In contrast to Anderson, he is clean-cut with long straight blonde hair falling to his shoulders. He was the victim of an assault by a Somali youth gang that was mentioned in the 2004 Pulse article. He told that story in more detail. “I was walking home from work at the bar at 2 a.m, when I was approached by group of three Somali youths. They asked if I had any money. I told them I had spent it all at the bar. They punched me in the head twice. I began to run but they caught up to me, knocked me down and kicked me in the face. Some people came by and pulled them off of me. I recognized their language as Somali. I had a couple of shiners and my face looked like an eggplant.”
During his hours at the Viking, Johnson has seen the groups of African youth jump out of cars, take money out of people’s pockets, then go back to their automobiles to talk to one another. He has followed them through parking lots, where they tend to hang around and has smelled Khat (a Somali, cocaine-like drug) on their lips.
Johnson is careful not to stereotype all of these perpetrators as Somali gangs. “There are groups of Somalis who hang out together. But they are not necessarily gangs. And you can’t always assume that the troublemakers are Somalis. Sometimes it’s just Africans who drank too much, but are not gangs.
Tofiq Hassam, an Ethiopian, seated on a corner bar stool, lives in the Seward neighborhood and has been in the U.S. about seven years. Last year, he claims, he was hit on the head by a group of Somali youth near the Riverside Café. He didn’t call the police for fear of losing his job at Mystic Lake Casino. He blames the gang activity on the fact that there is “too much democracy, too many rights” in the U.S., and that some of the immigrants take advantage of it.
Three different people in a sparsely-populated bar. All three with the same kind of story. Coincidence? Perhaps. But indicators seem to show that two years haven’t brought peace to the streets of Cedar-Riverside.
That’s the only conclusion he can draw from these interviews? I wonder how the people he talked to in the bar felt when they read his vague conclusions? Did they feel safer, knowing this intrepid reporter was on the scene, willing to interpret the facts as he saw them? Certainly he had opinions in his first piece. What’s the cause of his sudden journalistic reticence?
And that’s it. That’s all he has to say about the presence of Somali gangs in Minneapolis. Perhaps that’s all he dare say if he wants to keep his skin intact. If the p.c. police don’t get him fired should he forget to toe the line, there’s an angry group of marauding Somali “youth” who wouldn’t mind a go at him if he says anything questionable.
That’s why they carry broken beer bottles and Mr. Journalist doesn’t want a face that looks like an eggplant.
Ironically, Minnesota — and Minneapolis — were settled by Norwegians and Swedes. Back in the old countries, they are having their own problems with violent crimes by Somali immigrants. Only Norway and Sweden, being further along the multi-culti death path than is the U.S., won’t admit the problem.
If you want to discover the truth — about America, about Europe — skip the MSM, including these trendy “alternative” weeklies. Instead, ride the rails of the blogosphere to the people on the scene. For Scandinavia, your first stop is Fjordman’s old blog, where he has this report from September, 2005:
I keep hearing claims that I am exaggerating the problems in Sweden. Well, here’s a post where I have gathered just a few of the links I have about crime in Sweden. Instability is spreading to most urban and suburban areas. Street violence of all kinds is soaring on a national level. Private security companies are in great demand in major Swedish cities, as a serious lack of police to combat rising crime has made many citizens tired of being robbed. The official number of rape charges in Sweden has more than tripled in 30 years.
The number of reported cases of physical abuse/assault in Stockholm has also tripled in three decades. This steep rise in all kinds of crime and violence has happened at the same time as an unprecedented amount of immigration to the country. Of course, Swedish politicians would never dream of connecting the two. However, in one of those rare cases where a Swedish newspaper has actually told the truth, Aftonbladet revealed that 9 out of the 10 most criminal ethnic groups in Sweden are Muslims. A trend known from other European countries such as France, where Muslims make up 10% of the general population, but 70% of the prison population…[links are in the original, not in this post.]
In a grotesque parallel, Sweden and Norway are stuck in the amber of the same paralyzing world view as are the descendants of those Swedish and Norwegian immigrants who traveled to this country to start a new life. Now, life comes full circle for all of them and they will learn the hard lessons of Theo van Gogh and the Danish cartoonists, and all the other martyrs to free speech.
And they will learn it one fist, one knife, one broken beer bottle at a time.