Somali Candidates Must Be Held Accountable to their Volunteers’ Behavior to end the new ‘Cedar-Riverside Culture’


From Left to Right Rep. Phyllis Kahn, Ilhan Omar and Mohamud Noor. Photo Mohamed Barre

Somalilandsun – No one can deny that April 09, 2016 was a historic night and a night that East-African and the Somali community members in MN will remember forever since there were two young Somali Immigrant candidates squared off to unseat one of the Minnesota’s longest serving legislator.

DFL representative Phyllis Kahn was considered untouchable before Somali Immigrants showed up on the shores of the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis. This is a place that has been a destination for a different new Americans from other parts of the world than any other area in MN.

Few years after, the uniqueness of the Somali people – a community that possessed both politics and entrepreneurial skills than any other community that settles in MN appeared after Hussein Samatar (RA) become the first Somali American that was elected for an office in USA and he also created the first Non-profit organization that assists the community to live in their American Dream: becoming home and business owners.

Most of the community members were just there to celebrate with their candidates for the historic night. Nevertheless, to some it was disgusting and a disastrous night since there were similar, strong and visible sign of the political immaturity of the community – see minnpost article of 2014 election: .
The good news is that the Delegates from District 60 of NE Minneapolis or East Bank communities were supportive how the new Americans were adopting the American Democratic system and joining the DFL party, but they were concerned if the West Bank Candidates were accountable for the actions – commotion and chaos exhibited by their supporters.

The equitable word between the American Politics and the Politics of the new Americans, to some it is successful event since they – in the first place the Somalis community adopted a Democratic system than chaos that forced them to leave their homeland and expect that them that this unprecedented act of could benefited those they left behind.

On the other hand, most of the observers see the way the Somali community members from West Bank were behaving a new culture that started when one of their community members was running for the Minneapolis City Council and when the first Somali candidate challenged with Kahn in 2014. This time, both candidates are Somali Immigrants and both of their misbehaving supporters were mostly Somalis or East African Immigrants.

Some see the solution could be the DFL party to create an Ethics class for the new American candidates, their campaigners and their volunteers. Otherwise, some of the East African Somali Community concern that this may force most of them to abandon the DFL party and seek refugee to the Republican Party that has a different procedure and a different way of approaching the community. They also would like to see DFL party to create a required, high level Ethics classes for new Americans that are joining in the ranks of the DFL party.

By Mohamed Barre – Junlay ‘Buluf’ – a Minneapolis Based Somali American freelance writer who writes about Somali community issues in MN -USA –