Hudda Ibrahim has come home to St. Cloud to help organize her community and bring peace and understanding, she says. (Oh, and build a “huge company” while she’s at it.)
But while she was away at places like Catholic Notre Dame (she studied conflict resolution and reconciliation) she obviously picked up on the nuance surrounding the words ‘integrate’ and ‘assimilate’ with the former being preferred to the evil latter—we will not assimilate was her clear message to a recent audience.
She spoke at Central Lakes College earlier this month. Below is a small part of a report on what Ibrahim told her audience.
West Central Tribune (Willmar) (Hat tip: Ron):
BRAINERD, Minn.—Somalis in Minnesota often find themselves misunderstood, but one young refugee hopes to help change that.
Hudda Ibrahim, a professor of diversity and social justice at St. Cloud Technical and Community College, presented to a sizable crowd on her background as a Somali refugee and the plight of Somali refugees generally during a talk Thursday, Dec. 7, at Central Lakes College.
Ibrahim left Somalia as a young girl with her family in 1991, after the onset of civil war. They fled to Ethiopia, abandoning everything they owned, and later moved to America. An uncle and brother died, she said. [What about the Kenya part of her journey?—ed]
“It wasn’t easy for my family,” she said.
Every Somali family that comes to America has a story similar to the Ibrahims, she said.
When Ibrahim arrived in America in 2006 at the age of 19, she didn’t speak one word of English.
She went on to obtain a master’s degree from Notre Dame, and work for a nonprofit in Washington D.C. She moved back to Minnesota in 2015. [Is that non-profit the Somalicurrent? she edited? Listed on twitter as being located in Mogadishu—ed]
“I really wanted to get back to my community, my hometown, my city of St. Cloud … to build bridges,” she said.
Ibrahim founded Filson Consulting, which lends its services to businesses trying to bridge the culture gap, including translation and mediation. She also wrote a book, “From Somalia to Snow,” on the Somali experience in central Minnesota. The research for the book formed the basis of the second part of her talk Thursday—on Somalis in Minnesota as a whole.
Somali immigrants have been settling in America since the 1920s, Ibrahim said, but she focused on those arriving during the early 1990s onward. [For new readers that is when the UN/US Refugee Program was going gangbusters—ed]
There are several factors prompting Somalis to immigrate to Minnesota as opposed to other states, Ibrahim said. Following the outbreak of war in Somalia, refugee agencies resettled in Minnesota. That caused word to spread among the Somali community that Minnesota was a tolerant place with life opportunities, attracting more immigrants. Ibrahim recalled hearing stories before she immigrated of the wonders of Minnesota—stories which conveniently omitted the freezing weather.
Somalis came to central Minnesota because there were jobs that didn’t [require] fluency in English, she said. They also came because their family members were already there. They came because there were schools, hospitals and mosques available.
We know they came for jobs (like window manufacturing in Owatonna!), and they were originally placed in Minnesota by three federal resettlement contractors acting as headhunters. Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services and World Relief were supplying those companies with cheap labor.
But, there was something else! We reported here that it was the generous welcoming welfare that made Minnesota attractive to the resettlement agencies in addition to low wage manufacturing and meatpacker jobs galore.
Then here is the part that interested me most. She is parroting the hard Left/Open Borders activists on the words assimilation vs. integration.
Ibrahim made a distinction between assimilation and integration, in response to critics who say Somalis aren’t assimilating enough to American culture. Assimilation involves abandoning one’s home culture and adopting that of the dominant group. However, integration means maintaining one’s cultural traditions and values, while interacting and respecting the diverse community as a whole.
Fine and dandy if she is talking about cultural traditions involving food, festivities and traditions of that nature. However, if she is talking about Islam, Islam is not a cultural tradition. Islam is a form of government that we have no plans of integrating with!
Readers should know that the debate over the use of those words is raging even in the Trump Administration as it recently initiated a push to try to get rid of the word ‘integration’ throughout the government.
I had planned only to say a few words about her use of the words ‘assimilate’ and ‘integrate’ until…..
…..in only a few minutes of zipping around on the worldwide web, I found a few other bits of information about Ibrahim.
First that mention above about not speaking a word of English when she arrived here in 2006 at age 19 after living in Ethiopia from 1991 (when she supposedly last saw Somalia) until she came to the US—-does she expect us to believe that when she attended high school in KENYA (according to her facebook page), she learned NO English?
I would like to know more about this publication called Somalicurrent the thirty-something Ibrahim edited.
And, here we have—the words of the peacemaker! She gets a big award. Below is a small portion of the report about her award at the St. Cloud Times.
Arriving in the U.S. at 19 with limited English skills, Ibrahim was determined to carry on her family’s tradition of education. [Which is it? Limited? or, as she told the Brainerd audience, she didn’t speak one word of English?—ed]
It was at both the College of St. Benedict and the University of Notre Dame that Ibrahim discovered an interest in peace building.
And it is a skill set that she is determined to apply in Central Minnesota.
Question: Why peace studies? Why do you have a passion and drive for that particular area of study?
Answer: Because I want to build a community that lives together, regardless of their differences. And a community that comes together as a force of peace and coexistence and love. Peace building is not only a peace and war thing. If you don’t have peace, then you don’t have life. Safety, security. In peace building, one person cannot do it all. I understand that. But, you have to be that change. If you want to bring change, you have to start within. I wanted to be that person who changes the perspectives and wins the hearts and the minds of others.
Peacemaker or troublemaker?
See Ibrahim’s facebook comment after one of those recent contentious St. Cloud city council meetings. (I don’t think she means for this to look like a peacemaker parody, but it sure does!)
For a self-described “peacemaker” to use words like these—calling those she disagrees with “bigots” and cheering the city council for “bulldozing” the bigots—is comical. Is that what she learned in conflict resolution classes at Notre Dame?
So much for “building bridges!”
Find everything you ever wanted to know and more about the St. Cloud/Somali refugee controversy by clicking here.
This post is also filed in my ‘Laugh of the day’ category, here.