She became the nation’s first Somali American lawmaker. A month later, she was harassed in a D.C. cab for being Muslim.

Less than one month after being elected, Ilhan Omar visited the nation’s capital for policy training at the White House, her historic role didn’t stop a cab driver from targeting her for her religion. Riding in a taxi en route to her hotel Tuesday, after having spent the afternoon at the White House, she “became subjected to the most hateful, derogatory, islamophobic, sexist taunts and threats” she had ever experienced, she wrote in a post on social media.

“The cab driver called me ISIS and threatened to remove my hijab,” she wrote. “I wasn’t really sure how this encounter would end as I attempted to rush out of his cab and retrieve my belongs.”

St. Paul police now allow employees to wear hijab

March 1, 2014

 

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The St. Paul Police Department is now allowing employees to wear a police-issued hijab headscarf, according to an announcement Saturday.

St. Paul Police Chief Thomas Smith said he knows of only one other department in Washington, D.C., that allows the hijab in the United States, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press (http://bit.ly/1gJtpFc).

Cities in Canada and Great Britain allow Muslim officers to wear police-issued hijabs while in uniform.

The St. Paul announcement comes in tandem with the recent hiring of their first Somali woman, Kadra Mohamed. She serves as a Community Liaison Officer.

Although the Twin Cities has the nation’s largest Somali-American population, Garaad Sahal was St. Paul’s first and remains the only sworn Somali-American police officer, joining in late 2012.

The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations praised Saturday’s announcement in a news release.
Muslim women who wear the hijab believe it’s their religious obligation and asking them to remove it is akin to asking them to remove a shirt or other piece of clothing, Saroya said in the news release.

CAIR: http://cair.com/press-center/press-releases/12397-cair-mn-welcomes-new-st-paul-police-hijab-policy.html

‘Fox And Friends’ Warns Of YMCA Swim Class For Muslim Girls (VIDEO)

December 2, 2013

 

Fox News is warning viewers about a YMCA swim class for Muslim girls, suggesting that it’s a bad sign of the “minority becoming the majority.”

A YMCA in St. Paul, Minnesota recently teamed up with the St. Paul Police Department to offer a swim class for Somali-American girls. The class respects the girls’ religious beliefs, and Minneapolis Star Tribune recently reported on the need for the program and its success.

Fox News saw it differently. “The minority becoming the majority at one community pool,” newsreader Heather Nauert said on Monday’s “Fox and Friends.” “Sharia law is now changing everything.”

“This means during the one hour class, the pool is being shut down,” she said. “The men’s locker room is being locked and female life guards are being brought in. Similar classes are now starting at towns across the Midwest. We’ll keep watching this story for you.”

 

Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/02/fox-news-ymca-muslim-girls-sharia-law_n_4373268.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

Somali-American man convicted in 2010 Portland, Ore., Christmas bomb plot apologizes

PORTLAND, Ore. — A young Somali-American man convicted of plotting to bomb a 2010 Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in Portland’s town square has written an apology letter in advance of his sentencing and says he renounces his former beliefs.

In the letter filed Friday by his lawyers in federal court, Mohamed Mohamud offers to speak to young Muslims “to help keep them away from the path of extremism” and tells U.S. District Judge Garr King he turned to books to help himself “walk a better path.” His reading list ranges from “The Grapes of Wrath” to President Barack Obama’s “The Audacity of Hope” to “A Zombie Apocalypse.”

Mohamud was arrested Nov. 26, 2010, after pressing a button on a cellphone that he believed would detonate a 1,800-pound diesel-and-fertilizer bomb near thousands of people at the annual holiday gathering.

The bomb was a fake supplied by undercover FBI agents posing as al-Qaida recruiters.

Somali American caught up in a shadowy Pentagon counterpropaganda campaign

In MINNEAPOLIS — Two days after he became a U.S. citizen, Abdiwali Warsame embraced the First Amendment by creating a raucous Web site about his native Somalia. Packed with news and controversial opinions, it rapidly became a magnet for Somalis dispersed around the world, including tens of thousands in Minnesota.

The popularity of the site, Somalimidnimo.com, or United Somalia, also attracted the attention of the Defense Department. A military contractor, working for U.S. Special Operations forces to “counter nefarious influences” in Africa, began monitoring the Web site and compiled a confidential research dossier about its founder and its content.

In a May 2012 report, the contractor, the Northern Virginia-based Navanti Group, branded the Web site “extremist” and asserted that its “chief goal is to disseminate propaganda supportive” of al-Shabab, an Islamist militia in Somalia that the U.S. government considers a terrorist group. The contractor then delivered a copy of its dossier — including Warsame’s Minnesota home address and phone number — to the FBI. A few days later, federal agents knocked on the webmaster’s door.

Although he did not know it, Warsame had been caught up in a shadowy Defense Department counterpropaganda operation, according to public records and interviews.

 

Ore. Muslim sues FBI, claims torture

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — An American Muslim who says he was beaten with batons by prison interrogators while held in solitary confinement overseas for more than three months has sued the FBI and State Department, claiming the torture was done at their behest.

The lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Oregon seeks $30 million and several injunctions against the U.S. government concerning its treatment of citizens overseas.

Yonas Fikre said he was held for 106 days in the United Arab Emirates after refusing to cooperate with Portland, Ore.,-based FBI agents in an interview in Sudan. The State Department has confirmed previously that Fikre was held in Abu Dhabi ‘‘on unspecified charges,’’ but said he was visited by State Department officials and showed no signs of mistreatment.

Two other Oregon Muslims who worship at the mosque have also alleged they were held overseas and were asked to become informants by Portland-based FBI agents. Both men have returned to Oregon.

The mosque has come under scrutiny before. Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a Somali American convicted of plotting to set off a bomb in downtown Portland in 2010, occasionally worshipped there. A decade ago, seven Muslims with ties to the mosque were arrested following a failed effort to enter Afghanistan and fight U.S. forces.

 

Al-Shabab suicide bomber urges attacks in Canada

News Agencies – October 31, 2011

The al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabab released an audiotape it said was a message from a Somali-American suicide bomber who struck an African Union base in Mogadishu this weekend, killing 10. The English-language message specifically called for terrorist attacks in Canada and said it was a duty for Muslims to fight for Islam, urging listeners not to “just sit around and be a couch potato and just chill all day.”

The message appears to be the latest attempt by Al-Shabab to incite Western youths. Canadian authorities are investigating as many as 20 Canadians who are suspected of having joined the Islamist extremist group.