Category Archives: Ibrahim Hirsi

Minnesota advocate looks forward to serving on federal human trafficking council

By Ibrahim Hirsi, MinnPost

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Bukola Oriola, a longtime advocate for victims of trafficking and domestic abuse in Minnesota, is looking forward to serving on the newly formed U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking.

“It’s unbelievable that I could get such a platform,” she said. “I see it as the highest platform I could have to really lend my voice to help victims and survivors of human trafficking.”

Oriola was among 11 council members that President Obama picked last month from states across the country to identify issues and make recommendations to the federal government on policies addressing human trafficking in the United States.

“I am honored that these talented individuals have decided to serve our country,” President Obama said in a statement. “They bring their years of experience to this administration, and I look forward to working with them.”

Continue reading at MinnPost

Ibrahim Hirsi reports on immigrant communities, social issues, marginalized groups and people who work on making a difference in the lives of others. A graduate from the University of Minnesota, he interned for Newsday and has written for multiple publications in Minnesota.

Ibrahim Hirsi can be reached at ihirsi@minnpost.com.  Follow Ibrahim Hirsi on Twitter: @IHirsi.

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If you like this piece, share it on social media.  We invite you to join us in this project on our social media sites.  We welcome your voice to the Comment section below — or consider writing a commentary, podcast or photo story. (For more information, email engageminnesota@gmail.com.)

Somali-Americans react to Obama’s final State of the Union address

By Ibrahim Hirsi, MinnPost

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On a typical weeknight, the four flat-screen TVs inside the Capitol Café in Minneapolis buzz with European soccer matches, basketball games and reality shows.

But that wasn’t the case on Tuesday night. The coffee shop was packed with scores of Somali-Americans who braved the bone-chilling cold to watch President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address.

Those at the gathering included local political figures, educators and activists who came to learn about the president’s legislative agenda and national priorities — especially immigration and Muslim issues, which have recently dominated the headlines.

During his speech, the president painted a hopeful picture of the country’s future as he highlighted the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the recovering economy and his strategies to dismantle al-Qaeda leaders.

Continue reading at MinnPost

Ibrahim Hirsi reports on immigrant communities, social issues, marginalized groups and people who work on making a difference in the lives of others. A graduate from the University of Minnesota, he interned for Newsday and has written for multiple publications in Minnesota.

Follow Ibrahim Hirsi on Twitter: @IHirsi.

WANT TO ADD YOUR VOICE?

If you like this piece, share it on social media.  We invite you to join us in this project on our social media sites.  We welcome your voice to the Comment section below — or consider writing a commentary, podcast or photo story. (For more information, email engageminnesota@gmail.com.)

Why a Minnesota cop spent a year in Somalia training Mogadishu police

By Ibrahim Hirsi, MinnPost

IbrahimHirsiIllo400Waheid Siraach sees it this way: Terrorism problems should be dealt with overseas to keep radicalization and recruitment in Minnesota at bay.

That conviction led the Metro Transit detective sergeant to take a yearlong leave of absence from his job in order to train Somali police forces in the capital Mogadishu — and to promote public safety in his native country.

“I believe that if Somalia is not safe, nowhere is actually safe,” said Siraach, who in 2013 became the first Somali-American sergeant anywhere in the United States. “What happens over there can come to us and assault us here. So, if we can take care of the problems there, we don’t have to deal with it over here.”

Somalia has seen more than two decades of violence and anarchy that gave way to streams of local and foreign fighters of al Shabaab, an al Qaeda linked group who controlled parts of the war-ravaged East African country.

Eight years ago, al Shabaab lured more than 20 Somali-Americans from Minnesota, getting them to fight against the fragile Somali government, guarded by troops from the African Union. This then-unprecedented recruitment shocked the Somali community here and sparked an alarm in the U.S. intelligence agencies.

Continue reading at MinnPost

Ibrahim Hirsi reports on immigrant communities, social issues, marginalized groups and people who work on making a difference in the lives of others. A graduate from the University of Minnesota, he interned for Newsday and has written for multiple publications in Minnesota.

Follow Ibrahim Hirsi on Twitter: @IHirsi.

WANT TO ADD YOUR VOICE?

If you like this piece, share it on social media.  We invite you to join us in this project on our social media sites.  We welcome your voice to the Comment section below — or consider writing a commentary, podcast or photo story. (For more information, email engageminnesota@gmail.com.)

New radio station aimed at Somali-Americans

By Ibrahim Hirsi, MinnPost

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Minnesota’s youngest radio station, KALY 101.7-FM, aired its first news segment this week for thousands of Somali-speaking audience members in the Minneapolis area.

The low-power FM station — which is operated by the nonprofit Somali American Community — opened its doors in September, making KALY the first Somali-American station licensed by the Federal Communication Commission.

“Media is a powerful tool … and we need to be part of that power,” said KALY Executive Director Mahamed Cali. “You’ll be respected when you’re able to tell your own stories.”

Cali and his team of volunteers operate from a tiny south Minneapolis studio, but their service is making a mark on local community programming: The station broadcasts a daily mix of Somali music, Islamic lectures and Somali language talk programming throughout the day.

KALY’s mission, Cali explained, is to provide Somali-Americans with information about weather, important announcements, new laws that affect them and discussions about social issues.

Prometheus Radio Project, a Philadelphia-based media justice advocate group, helped set up KALY station, which rebroadcasts the daytime programing at night.

Continue reading at MinnPost

Ibrahim Hirsi reports on immigrant communities, social issues, marginalized groups and people who work on making a difference in the lives of others. A graduate from the University of Minnesota, he interned for Newsday and has written for multiple publications in Minnesota.

Follow Ibrahim Hirsi on Twitter: @IHirsi.

WANT TO ADD YOUR VOICE?

If you like this piece, share it on social media.  We invite you to join us in this project on our social media sites.  We welcome your voice to the Comment section below — or consider writing a commentary, podcast or photo story. (For more information, email engageminnesota@gmail.com.)

Experts on refugee process dispel misconceptions about prospective Syrian immigrants

By Ibrahim Hirsi, MinnPost

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Suzan Boulad has recently noted a new depiction of the Syrian refugees: America’s new enemy.

“Syrian refugees are painted as sort of this new threat,” said Boulad, a Syrian-American and a University of Minnesota School of Law student.

The debate on refugees escaping the deadly conflict in Syria began to unfold two weeks ago, after it came to light that one of the suicide bombers who carried out the attacks on Paris may have sneaked into Europe on a Syrian passport.

This claim led some state and federal officials to call for more scrutiny of Syrian refugees. Until a tougher resettlement process is in place, the officials have proposed a pause in the plan to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees in the United States in the coming months.

“I think the presidential and other elections coming up have a lot to do with that,” said Boulad, whose aunt and cousins still remain in Syria. “There’s always a convenient scapegoat in society. It’s unfortunate that those political elements have a very real impact on people’s lives.”

Petition against Syrian refugees

Thousands of Minnesotans have also responded to the issue as they took to the Internet to sign a petition that accentuated their demand to keep Syrian refugees out of the state.

Continue reading at MinnPost

Ibrahim Hirsi reports on immigrant communities, social issues, marginalized groups and people who work on making a difference in the lives of others. A graduate from the University of Minnesota, he interned for Newsday and has written for multiple publications in Minnesota.

Follow Ibrahim Hirsi on Twitter: @IHirsi.

WANT TO ADD YOUR VOICE?

If you like this piece, share it on social media.  We invite you to join us in this project on our social media sites.  We welcome your voice to the Comment section below — or consider writing a commentary, podcast or photo story. (For more information, email engageminnesota@gmail.com.)