The dramatic change in demographic makeup and the escalation of tensions in St. Cloud came to my attention in the earliest days of writing this blog when my then blog partner, Judy, wrote in 2008 about how Somali students were harassing a service dog to such a degree that it caused the disabled student to leave the school.
See that story here.
It is a good thing that we captured some of that story because it seems to no longer be available at the St. Cloud Times, which surprise, surprise, seems to be the case for many of the articles we have reported on from St. Cloud in the ensuing 9 years.
Recommendation! I can’t do it here, but when I look at RRW’s archives on St. Cloud (that began with the dog abuse story) what immediately comes to mind is that what has happened to the city, now the third highest for the direct resettlement of Somalis in the state (Minneapolis and St. Paul, are numbers one and two), is that someone should do a documentary film or write a book about the transformation of a small American city that began with a meatpacking plant’s desire for cheap labor.
And what got me thinking about it this morning is this snarky editorial in the St. Cloud Times blaming the Christian haters for the tension there.
Before I get to that, take a look at my St. Cloud archive by clicking here.
A sampling of stories that you should look at include:
On this last post, I checked data at Wrapsnet and St. Cloud was getting Somalis directly, immediately after 9/11, but I believe Lutheran Social Services MN (the resettlement contractor there) didn’t open an office in the city until 2010.
But, direct resettlement doesn’t tell the whole story because Minnesota leads the nation in secondary migration (Somali refugees placed in other states move to MN to be with their own kind of people.)
Here is some of the editorial from the St. Cloud Times showing its disdain for its Christian readers:
If Central Minnesota is going to look back on one year since the Crossroads Center attacks and ask about community relations and people getting along, we at least need to be honest.
When it comes to publicly exuding religious extremism in Central Minnesota and a lack of tolerance for others, it’s not from new immigrants nor Muslims. It’s from long-time residents. And Christians.
But there also is no denying a small, fervently vocal group of residents is working very hard to degrade new immigrants and Muslims — to the point this group wants to ignore the First Amendment and move from an American democracy to a Christian theocracy. [WTH! These citizens with concerns are using the First Amendment as you chronicle below. It is the SC Times attempting to silence speech with this editorial!—-ed]
Witness the continued march of anti-Islam guest speakers making stops across Central Minnesota, typically as invited guests of certain Christian pastors.
The latest came Sept. 12-14 when Christian pastor and former Muslim Shahram Hadian spoke in St. Cloud, Browerville and Freeport. His topics: “Trojan Horse of Interfaith Dialogue,” “Islam’s Assault on the Constitution” and “Islam’s March Toward Supremacy.”
Witness the handful of local folks who have shown up regularly at recent St. Cloud City Council meetings to use the public input period to demand City Council members stop the influx of immigrants.
Never mind that this is a free country, and people can live where they choose. These speakers also want city leaders to go into public schools and other places, programs and organizations over which the city has no control.
So how many Christians in St. Cloud have attempted to murder Muslims?
(Don’t miss Leo Hohmann here on the feckless FBI on Somali refugee Adan who attempted to murder Americans one year ago in St. Cloud.)
But, somehow, to the editors at the St. Cloud Times, it’s the Christians (exercising their First Amendment rights!) who are the haters?
The editors continue…
To be clear, Dahir Adan stabbing 10 people at Crossroads a year ago was among the most horrific crimes experienced in Central Minnesota. And, yes, it certainly met the definition of terrorism.
It is unsettling that even a year later the FBI is not providing more details, especially clarity as to whether Adan was acting alone.
I’m frustrated! The story of St. Cloud needs to reach all Americans, so someone in the larger media needs to do a full investigation, or better still write a whole book or produce a documentary film so that all of America can be warned!