US Bank Stadium hosted an estimated 50,000 Muslim worshipers on Saturday, July 9, a record turn-out. Quietly greeting them as they entered the stadium were a number of MNGOP leaders and Republican candidates with staffers. Significantly, the representatives of the Republican Party of Minnesota outnumbered those of the DFL.
The presence of the Republican Party inside and outside US Bank stadium clearly came as a surprise to the DFL. As Faisal Deri, a well-known member of the Somali community, was walking through the stadium on Saturday with a respected Imam, he was asked, “Why did you bring THEM here?” Deri, the chair of the MNGOP’s East African Affiliate, answered, “We ARE them.”
The party also was able to post candidate signs at the exit of the stadium. The signs can be seen at the upper right of the photo above.
Republicans in Minnesota have an opportunity that we cannot afford to miss. Yes, there are some radical elements within the Somali diaspora, but we must not brand the entire community as unworthy of our affiliation. We have been labeled by the DFL as prejudiced; we must demonstrate clearly that we are not. If we reach our hand out now, we will find that there are strong allies willing to take it. And in numbers significant enough to make a difference in the upcoming elections.
There are two main holidays celebrated in Islam. Eid al-Adha is the second and bigger of the two. Falling this year on July 9, Eid al-Adha is a high religious event celebrated in recognition of the essential need to act in obedience to God’s will.
Republicans share a number of deeply-rooted values with our Muslim neighbors. We believe that our rights come from God, and that our lives should be guided by faith. We believe that the family should be the center of our culture, that life is precious, and that self-determination is to be respected far above self-indulgence.
While Eid al-Adha does not celebrate politics, it is a time of charity toward others. The desperate needs of the people of east Africa, suffering through the fourth year of a severe drought, were particularly on the minds of the participants of the SuperEID event.
In that vein, MNGOP Chair David Hann was greeted with great appreciation when he respectfully stepped forward to pledge $5000 to assist in famine relief. The donation will be made to a charitable organization that has a record of direct support to the people in need. The good will engendered by this contribution and the Republican presence at the stadium will be best measured in the voting outcomes this fall.
This year is a particularly auspicious time to engage the Somali-American community in Minnesota. Republicans over the past several election cycles have not seriously engaged this constituency, leaving the field uncontested to the DFL. Republicans need to refute the impression of distrust and even hatred. The community’s disenchantment with the policies of the DFL incumbents in Minneapolis was made manifest when Rep. Ilhan Omar was booed by a largely Somali-American crowd at a concert on July 4.
Pafoua Yang of AlphaNews reported on July 8 that members of the Somali community in Minnesota have begun “publicly calling on voters to remove her from office.”
“Right now we’re organizing in Minnesota to get her out and bring(in) somebody else … she took money from lobbyiists … she is against our own interests in the community,” said Abdirahman Warsame, a Somali-American leader in Virginia. A concert attendee, Aphata Hashim, said, “Most of the community thinks she’s a corrupt politician; that’s why people were booing her.”