To add diversity, Minneapolis and Columbus, OH recruiting Somalis for police and fire department jobs
Posted by Ann Corcoran on January 3, 2013
We know those Somalis in Columbus know a bit about fires because back in 2009 we had a report that one group of Somalis tried to burn down the mosque of another group of more moderate Somalis, read all about it here.
Here is yesterday’s story from the Columbus Dispatch:
About 35 young men showed up at a meeting in Minneapolis last week to find out how to join the city’s fire department.
They were all from the local Somali community, which is the nation’s largest.
Community leaders organized the meeting because Minnesota’s largest city is making an effort this year to recruit from the Somali and eastern African communities, said Casidy Anderson, the fire department’s community risk-reduction officer. “It’s important for the fire department that it reflects the face of the community,” Anderson said.
Columbus is making a similar effort and is hiring a consultant to work with both the fire and police divisions to increase diversity.
“There is a targeted approach to reach out not just to the Somali community but to all immigrant communities,” said Napoleon Bell, the executive director of the Columbus Community Relations Commission. Columbus is home to the country’s second-largest Somali population. Some are hesitant to apply to become a police officer or firefighter because they don’t trust authorities, based on bad experiences where they came from, Bell said.
The city is to begin a 35-member fire-recruit class in June.
Authorities might think it’s logical to aim for the younger Somalis who have grown up here, but remember it was virtually all young Somalis (who had grown up here!) that were recruited to join the Jihad in Africa a few years ago, remember!
Minneapolis is aiming for younger members of the Somali community who have grown up in America and are more comfortable with the idea of joining the fire department, Anderson said. “It’s almost like they’re straddling two cultures,” Anderson said.
Then I am guessing that maybe those fire departments have looked to European cities (Paris and Malmo, Sweden come to mind) where police and fire fighters do not enter the Muslim “no-go zones” even to fight fires.
The Minneapolis fire department wants to make sure it reflects the changing face of the city, Anderson said. “The Somali community is here. They are here to stay.”
It might be a good idea for Minneapolis and Columbus officials to keep the famous Ricci Supreme Court case in mind as they proceed.
For new readers: Columbus Somalis made news just last month, here, when they had to be dispersed by the police while seeking subsidized housing applications.
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