The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

April 26, 2014

Family ties protect Somalis in Mankato

Mankato's Somalis supported by community, schools


Going back

Qanyare was a student leader at East and has become a student leader at MSU. He said he wants to take the skills he has learned from that, go back to Somalia for awhile and complete a positive project. He doesn't have any solid plans yet, but he knows his parents will be concerned if he finds a way to do it.

"I've always wanted to go back," he said. "I went back in 2007, but I didn't get enough of it."

Qanyare is already doing positive work in Minnesota by volunteering at a youth center in Minneapolis' Cedar-Riverside neighborhood. That's the location of Minnesota's largest Somali community and also the area where Ka Joog started its work after Somali gang members started drawing negative attention to the community by dealing drugs and committing violent crimes.

Although he believes Qanyare has good intentions, Harbi Hassan said he wouldn't want his two young sons to go back to Somalia right now. There are regular reports through international news organizations about violence resulting from the political unrest there.

"We tell them that Somalia used to be great and Somalians are great people," Hassan said. "But, politically, things are not good there."

Ibrahim said she would be concerned about the ongoing war and al-Shabab militants.

She's also had friends go back to find things there are not good in other ways. Basic things such as electricity, cooking fuel and decent plumbing are hard to find due to the destruction caused during several years of war.


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