Emina Dedic, a refugee from the Bosnian war some 20 years ago, is incensed that Isuroon, a Somali women's group, is taking advantage of the charity and kindness of a "mostly Christian nation." In fact, she insinuates that what they are demanding and doing is un-Islamic.
Arriving in this country when she was a toddler, Emina's family struggled but her parents worked hard to integrate. They learned English through "Hooked On Phonics" while both parents got jobs- her mum at a fast food joint, her dad working two jobs to make ends meet. He walked, since they could not afford a car, and no food stamps, although she did avail herself of the reduced-price school lunch programme. Regarding halal:
Apparently, there are 77,000 or so Somali people in Minnesota, the bulk of them refugees, who were resettled by Christian organizations like Catholic Charities and Lutheran Social Services.
“When we couldn't afford halal foods, we simply wouldn't buy lamb or would eat what we could with the budget we had,” she told International Business Times.
The response from Isuroon's executive director- Fartun Weli- to Dedic's "smackdown."
“The ‘viral’ writer is somewhat misinformed in that our community is not asking for additional food stamps from the county, nor are we asking for additional funding/taxes from the state or county,” Weli wrote in an email to IBTimes about Dedic’s Facebook post. She says the Somali community in Minnesota contributes $223 million to the state’s economy. A 2006 study found Somalis in Minnesota account for $164 million in buying power and own 600 businesses. “We aren't asking for handouts,” Weli said. “Most Somalis work hard so we asked some of our tax money to come back to our community so we can take care of our own while we keep continuing to do better.”If they are doing so well, as Dedic posits, why aren't they taking care of their own? Why can't business owners and mosques supply halal foods to those food banks.
Prior to the viral post, Isuroon led a rally to demand that the county reallocate funds for halal food. That would cost $150,000 to get it going, according to Peter McLaughlin, Hennepin County commissioner. Weli complained that:
“Some food shelves are trying to meet the need, but some of them already got canned beans that have already been mixed with pork -- and there is a literacy issue here.”Literacy. Hmm. Why isn't Isuroon worrying more about educating and teaching Somali people English and how to integrate, than bitching about not enough Halal food in local food pantries.
Dedic, of course, is a conservative.