Islamists Sabotage Assimilation of Somali-Americans

The mainstream media has publicized a few cases of Somali-American youth that have returned to their homeland to fight for Islamist forces there. What the media has neglected to investigate is how Islamist members of the Somali-American community have formed organizations to advocate their agenda here in the United States. These organizations, which claim to represent the larger Somali community, silence moderate Muslim voices and impede the integration of Somalis into American society.

There are approximately 200,000 Somalis living in the United States, the largest community of 70,000 people residing in Minneapolis-St. Paul (population statistics for Somalis in America are rough estimates because many Somalis are here as refugees and therefore are not counted in official surveys). According to Andrew Liepman, the deputy director of intelligence at the National Counterterrorism Center, Somali-Americans face "greater insularity compared to other, more integrated Muslim immigrant communities, [which] has aggravated the challenge of assimilation for their children."

Islamists have taken advantage of this insularity to disseminate their ideology within the community. The Islamists' dogma ascribes no value to American cultural norms and has therefore led to clashes between Somalis and their host communities.

In one such incident, Hassan Mohamud, a prominent Somali-American imam, recently encouraged his congregants to give to Islamist causes in order to ameliorate "the hell of living in America." Under the leadership of Mohamud and three other imams, Somali cab drivers in 2007 boycotted patrons carrying alcohol or accompanied by dogs -- including those required for the visually impaired -- because they claimed driving such passengers violates Sharia law.

In another Islamist-inspired incident, radical Somalis organized a labor strike in September 2008 at a meat packing plant in Grand Island, Nebraska. The factory workers at the plant were expected to work during the time allocated for the prayer that marks the end of the daily fast during the month of Ramadan. The Islamists' agenda was to force the factory to adopt a different work schedule that would necessitate non-Muslim workers to come to their jobs on Saturdays for the entire month in order to receive their 40 hours of pay.