Our VoiceImmigration

Somali Community Concerned About Recent Vandalism

Garat Ibrahim • Aug 03, 2010

The red spray paint on the front window of Somali-owned Hormud Market had not a so subtle message: “GO HOME.”

The bigot who painted the graffiti could have chosen any other grocery store in town, but painting those sentiments in front of a Somali-owned grocery store clearly represent the hateful attacks on Somali residents and all of the – largely peaceful – residents of Saint Cloud.

This is not the first time a Somali-owned grocery store has been vandalized in Saint Cloud or that the community has seen race-based issues flare up. From time to time over the last decade this has been a traumatic experience for the Somali refugees in Saint Cloud.

The thing the bigot who wrote those  two words “GO HOME,” did not understood is that the Somalis in Saint Cloud are here to stay, and they plan to make change and create prosperity like any other resident in Saint Cloud . Hate mongers can write as many things as they like, but that will not in any way deter or change the status of the Somalis. They are either refugees or citizens, and this country is their home country

The “Go Home” messages have become a trend recently towards the Muslim community in Saint Cloud.

In December, a man posted a cartoon with an offensive depiction of prophet Mohamed on electrical poles near Somali groceries and even though police later identified the culprit, Stearns and Benton county attorneys determined the images were protected under free speech.

In March, a Baptist pastor from a local church placed a paid advertisement in the St. Cloud Times questioning whether Islam threatens America.

In May, the US Department of education announced it will investigate St. Cloud public school district over allegation that the district largely ignored racial harassment toward Somali high school students

A man from new hope pleaded guilty to posting threats to hurt Somalis at a cultural dance at Saint Cloud State University.

Taking into account all the above, many community members feel that a few disgruntled individuals are damaging the good image of the greater community. They truly believe the law enforcement has the capacity to catch up with them.  But every new occurrence of hate portrays the entire community in a negative light.

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