Nebraska: Lutherans, Somalis, meatpackers, mosques (and controversy) in small town America
Posted by Ann Corcoran on March 8, 2016
This is a story from late last month that should be nothing new to readers who have followed this blog since 2007. We probably have 100 posts on this same subject, namely meatpackers working with the help of refugee resettlement contractors to spread Islam throughout the heartland. LOL! Someone could write a book!
The story about a clash in Lexington, Nebraska about the location of a new Somali mosque is the subject of this lengthy report from the Omaha World-Herald late last month. (Sorry, just getting around to it now!).
Reporter Paul Hammel begins with this:
LEXINGTON, Neb. — The old Longhorn Laundry is an unlikely place for a showdown over the First Amendment.
You could easily miss the nondescript concrete building on a quiet downtown corner of this old cow town.
But ever since a group of Somali workers from the local meatpacking plant spread out a sea of Persian rugs in the expansive former laundry and began holding Muslim prayer services five times a day, there has been controversy.
City officials maintain that mosque leaders are ignoring local zoning laws and thumbing their noses at requirements for building permits and fire-code inspections.
They insist that the flap is about a lack of parking, not a denial of religious freedom, and that it wasn’t spurred by “Islamophobia.”
The attraction is employment at Tyson Foods:
African Muslims, mostly from war-torn Somalia, started arriving in the mid-2000s. Census estimates put the number of Somalis in Lexington at 769 in 2014 — a 40 percent increase from 2000. Local Somalis and those who work with them say there actually may be 1,500 or more living in the community.
Across Nebraska, census estimates show 2,100 Somali-born residents clustered in Omaha and Lincoln, and near meatpacking plants in Grand Island and Madison, as well as Lexington.
Read the whole thing, it is well worth it. Hammel interviewed many of the players in the drama, including the Lutheran resettlement contractor out of Omaha.
What do the numbers look like?
To get an idea of what has been going on in Nebraska and because I wanted to know if Lexington’s Somalis are so-called ‘secondary migrants,’ I had a look at the US State Department data base and learned that since Obama was elected, Nebraska has ‘welcomed’ 6,716 refugees and the numbers have been increasing each of those years.
Most of the refugees (seeded in Nebraska by federal ‘church’ contractors) are Burmese or Iraqis, but of course Somalis have been resettled as well. (There are small numbers of Muslim Burmese and the largest group of Iraqis we admit to the US are Muslims. Somalis are virtually all Muslim.)
The largest numbers went to Lincoln and Omaha, but I was surprised to see that the Lutheran agencies operating in the state placed 33 Somalis directly in Lexington which is well over a hundred miles from any resettlement office (unless one of the federal contractors has set up a subsidiary office way out Interstate 80 in Lexington). The larger numbers of Somalis reported are indeed ‘secondary migrants’ (resettled in another state who then moved to Nebraska for meatpacking work.) I’ll look into this further…..
See what we have reported about Nebraska over the last few years by clicking here.
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