Somali community bigger than Ali

Don’t generalize about an entire community based on a few members.

Cassandra Sundaram

Though the United States will finally be withdrawing from Iraq at the end of this year, the War on Terror continues. Our country remains alert, careful and cautiously guards its fragile feelings of relief in a global environment rife with conflict. The battle against hatred is not an easy one to fight, and in this decade inundated with tragic and terrible acts of terror, John F. KennedyâÄôs words provide welcome comfort:

âÄúTerror is not a new weapon. Throughout history it has been used by those who could not prevail, either by persuasion or example. But inevitably they fail, either because men are not afraid to die for a life worth living, or because the terrorists themselves came to realize that free men cannot be frightened by threats, and that aggression would meet its own response.âÄù

The Minnesota Daily article about Abdisalan Hussein Ali, the former University of Minnesota student believed to be involved in a suicide bombing last week, reminds one of KennedyâÄôs words to the United Nations General Assembly in 1961. Terrorism and terrorists are not new.

It should not matter where Ali came from. It doesnâÄôt matter that he was a student here, and it makes no difference what ethnicity he came from. Terrorism is a choice, not a heritage, and what matters is how we treat the people we share a community with. Shirwa Ahmed and Farah Mohamed Beledi, both young men from the Twin Cities, were also involved in suicide missions recently. These men were individual extremists, and the community they happened to come from should not be punished for the choices they made. The Somali community, so intrinsically a part of the Twin Cities culture, does not deserve to be quarantined as though they are some kind of epicenter for a terrorism pandemic.

But terrorism cannot survive in a place where people are treated as friends and not as outcasts. Out of isolation and alienation, only fear and anger can emerge. In this community, every relationship we can form is a potential life that can be saved.