#BlackMuslimsResist: Minnesota Somalis Fight Back

“The irony in this is that this is a country that people are fleeing to…[but it’s] becoming one of tyranny, is becoming one of dictatorship and is becoming one that’s turning its face against the values that it’s supposed to stand for.” – Ilhan Omar

An executive order signed on January 27th, ominously falling on Holocaust Remembrance Day, enacts a series of changes impacting people from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Libya, Sudan, and Yemen. The Twin Cities, home to the largest Somali community in the US, is heavily struck. In just the last three months of 2016, 433 Somali refugees were resettled in Minnesota contributing to a total of approximately 77, 000 Somalis in the Twin Cities. Almost two-decades of civil war has resulted in one of the largest displacement crises, with almost 1 million registered as refugees, and another 1.1 million displaced within Somalia.

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Consuming the Pain and Suffering of Others through Images

On the 6th of October this year, the New York Times published an image of dead African migrants on its front page. Not only was this image on the front page, it was above the fold, meaning that it was the most prominent part of that day’s coverage. The faces of the dead migrants were not blurred out, nor were their semi-nude bodies covered.

The use of images like this to represent human suffering is a topic that I hold near and dear, both through my research,* and also on a much more visceral level.

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“We should try to keep them out”?

unnamedThe Twitter account @HistOpinion recently reminded us of the prevailing opinion on raising the immigrant quota for refugees who were fleeing Nazi Germany. Two-thirds of the respondents polled by Gallup’s American Institute of Public Opinion in July 1938 agreed with the proposition that “with conditions as they are we should try to keep them out.”

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