Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump‘s derogatory comments about Somali Americans prompted members of the refugee community to respond over the weekend.
"I never thought he’d go there and blatantly call Somali Americans a danger," Mahamoud Ibrahim told The Star Tribune yesterday (August 7). "It hurts listening to that."
The Somali-American community in Ibrahim’s home state of Minnesota is one of the largest in the country. Trump disparaged that community during remarks in Portland, Maine, last Thursday (August 4). "Creating an enclave of immigrants with high unemployment that is both stressing the state’s—I mean the state is having tremendous problems—its safety net, and creating a rich pool of potential recruiting targets for Islamic terror groups," said Trump about Minnesota. Minnesota Public Radio suggested that Trump was alluding to recent charges against 10 young men, each of whom is of either Somali or Oromo origin, for conspiring to join Islamic terror networks in the Middle East.
"Donald Trump’s message has always been about using isolated incidents and terrorist attacks across the world to push his politics of fear," Council on American-Islamic Relations’ (CAIR) Minnesota chapter director Jaylani Hussein told The Star Tribune. "This community is thriving, and his remarks are really unfair."
"I want to serve my country, go to school and help out my family," added Ibrahim, an Army enlistee. "I am no danger to the community."
Trump’s comments also hit a thousands-strong Somali-American community in Maine," said Muhidin Libah, executive director of the Somali Bantu Community Association of Lewiston, to The Boston Globe. "He doesn’t have any evidence of terrorism. We haven’t seen any of that sort. This is our country, this is our state and we are living peacefully with the rest of the community."