Minneapolis: Fight breaks out at Somali-dominated political caucus, police called

Bringing their cultural ways to America?

Minneapolis City Council Member Abdi Wasame with supporter Rep. Keith Ellison

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune (hat tip: Steve). Emphasis mine:

A day after political tensions in Minneapolis’ Somali community erupted into caucus-night chaos, leaders grappled with how to repair their image and simultaneously channel its massive political ambitions in a more peaceful manner.

The Cedar-Riverside precinct hadn’t even elected officers Tuesday night when a brief melee broke out between activists on opposing sides of a legislative race between DFLers Mohamud Noor and longtime Rep. Phyllis Kahn, highly unusual for the normally staid events.

Facilities staff decided to end the event, at the Brian Coyle Community Center, prompting a handful of police officers to begin loudly dispersing hundreds of confused attendees.

“It became a farce,” said Minneapolis City Council Member Abdi Warsame, a Kahn supporter who became the country’s most prominent Somali-American politician last fall.

“And now the community looks bad. Now the Somalis look horrible … All the negative assumptions people have of our community [are] going to come to the fore because three or four individuals couldn’t behave themselves.”

Warsame, who was not at the Coyle Center, has received about 50 calls from concerned community members.

He worries that people will stop participating if the process isn’t improved. “People might start saying, ‘If I go to these places, people will start fighting each other.’ ”

The Somali community has grown into a major political force in Minneapolis, able to assemble massive numbers of voters at political events. Some well-attended yet similarly chaotic caucuses in April helped propel Warsame to win the DFL endorsement over incumbent Robert Lilligren, who complained that the events were tainted by irregularities.

But many attendees who speak little or no English are also not well-informed about the process, raising fears among opposing activists that voters will be manipulated.

Read it all—just a “few bad apples?”

3 thoughts on “Minneapolis: Fight breaks out at Somali-dominated political caucus, police called

Comments are closed.