Of course one wonders why they need a special bar association for their community, never-the-less if they are teaching Somalis that they must not use their clan system for meting out justice in America and must follow the US Constitution maybe that is a good thing. However, there is no mention in this article at MinnPost about sharia law—maybe the next public meeting will tell Somalis they can’t use that in America either!
How many special ethnic-oriented bar associations do we have in America? I would like to know!
On a recent cold winter night, Maya Sheikh-Salah, assistant Hennepin County attorney, stood tall before nearly 100 Somali-Americans at Safari Restaurant and Event Center in Minneapolis, passionately addressing the community about a little known topic: The U.S. criminal justice system.
The assembly last Thursday marked the launch of The North American Somali Bar Association (NASBA), birthed by Minnesota Somali legal professionals as a way to address their community’s legal needs, to inspire young African immigrants, and to provide mentoring services to current law students.
Even though the gathering was the association’s first meet-and-greet event, it presented some important lessons for many in attendance: Sheikh-Salah, a founding member of NASBA, explained what it means to have a justice system, a constitution and the many parallel branches of the justice system, among other things.
Criminal justice system is a system that’s key to the law, it’s key to the peaceful society and it’s key to a government to function well,” she said.
There is a lengthy discussion about how the clan-system of justice works and an example of why not to practice it here. Then this:
The audience even received a brief introduction to the U.S. Constitution: “This document is the oldest and shortest constitution in the world,” Sheikh-Salah said as she held the constitution high.
She continued: “And as a matter of fact, I’m going to add, the most contemporary document. It has 7 articles, 27 amendments, 4,400 words. The United States constitution gives rights to individuals. And the presumption of innocence preserves the dignity of the individual. You’re not guilty, until proven guilty.”
For new readers who are wondering how we got so many Somalis in Minnesota, visit our 2011 post. Minneapolis was targeted as a “welcoming” site by the US State Department and its contractors Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services of MN, and World Relief MN which has recently changed its name to Arrive Ministries resettled them there where the welfare was generous.
9,000 new Somali refugees arrived in the US in FY2014.