Sunday, December 31, 2006

Some Minneapolis Somalis unhappy with America/Ethiopia.

Africa: AS Ethiopia goes after the Islamists, some Somali in America are unhappy about it.

More than a thousand Somalis gathered in Minneapolis on Saturday to call for Ethiopian troops to withdraw immediately from Somalia. Their protest capped a week in which transitional government troops retook Mogadishu, Somalia's capital, with the backing of Ethiopian infantrymen. The U.S. government "gave the green light" to Ethiopia to work in concert with the transitional federal government in Somalia, and that action was "totally wrong," said Hassan Mohamud. He is the president of the Somali Institute for Peace and Justice in Minneapolis, which organized Saturday's rally. "We ask the president of the United States, Mr. Bush, and his administration to stop supporting the terrorists. Ethiopian troops are terrorists," Mohamud said to a cheering crowd. Somali men, women and children gathered Saturday morning in Peavey Park in Minneapolis, and they carried an array of signs. Some said "No more war" and "Islam is the solution."
Not everyone is unhappy with the Islamists being put on the run.
When that Islamic group took over the capital in June, many people were optimistic about the future, said Omar Jamal, executive director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center in Minneapolis. "They brought back security," Jamal said in a telephone interview. "We were all hoping that the moderates would be able to take the lead in the organization of the UIC. But unfortunately, the radicals hijacked the process." Jamal said the large Somali community in Minnesota "is divided," adding that many local Somalis supported the overthrow of the Islamists over the past few days.
Pioneer Press:
After news hit that Somali government forces and their Ethiopian allies marched into the capital city of Mogadishu on Thursday, Somalis in the Twin Cities flocked together — but in two camps. Many of those who supported Ethiopia's response to an "invitation" from Somalia to restore order went first to the Somali Justice Advocacy Center on Selby Avenue in St. Paul, then to a Starbucks in Minneapolis. "People are celebrating," said Abdulahi Ahmad of Minneapolis inside a Starbucks packed with Somalis. "The Ethiopians are there for our safety and order." Those opposed to an Ethiopian "invasion" gathered at the Village Market at 912 24th St. E. in Minneapolis. Men crowded around a wide-screen TV in a coffee shop, listening to news reports from Al-Jazeera. "We don't need Ethiopia," said Nimo Abraham, 54, of New Hope, who lost her father and brother to fighting between the two nations. "They are there to attack and kill our people and to commit genocide." Many, like Abraham, said decades of animosity and bloodshed between the two nations cannot be forgotten. Others said they've lost family to Ethiopian wars, too, but that Ethiopia is Somalia's best chance for stability. Emotions among local Somalis, who number as many as 25,000 in the Twin Cities, are running high. Minneapolis police were called to the Village Market on Tuesday to quell fighting between the two camps.
The other hand, Somalis in Norway seems to be overall unhappy and want to go back and fight.
"If the Ethiopians continue to occupy Somalia, we won't sit here. We will go back to Somalia and fight as one!" says Zakharia Ahmed, banging his fist on the table. The scene is the Café Bolsho in Oslo's downtown immigrant district Grønland. Dozens of compatriots are gathered round in the noisy café, and Ahmed clearly has full support. "Yes, we will go back and fight," the others shout. Aftenposten has chosen this Somali café at random. The conversation is animated, takes place in Somali, English and Norwegian, and here there is total agreement.
Other opinions Some Somalian leaders in Norway do take an opposing stance. Shirdon M. Abdikarim, head of the Somalian Council in Norway, which includes 11 member organizations, said his group wholeheartedly backs the UN-approved government in Somalia. "Somalia has never been a sharia (Islamic) state and will not be one in the future," Abdikarim told Aftenposten. Abdikarim has heard that some Somalians with Norwegian citizenship support the sharia tribunals, as Prime Minister Mohamed Ali Gedi was quoted as saying in an interview with Norwegian web site Nettavisen on Thursday. Gedi also was cited as saying significant sums of money were being transferred to the Islamists via Norway. "There are 8,000 Somalians with Norwegian citizenship. Quite a number of Somalian refugees have gone back to their homeland from Norway, but no one knows how many. Somalia's borders have been open in recent years, and there has been no checks of who has traveled in and out of the country," Abdikarim said.
Keep an eye on Norway.

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