Somali community members applaud indictments

A community member also announced his candidacy for city council today.

Aman Obsiye, a former candidate for Ward 6 Councilmember, spoke on behalf of Somali Voices, a coalition of eight organizations claiming to represent the Somali community at a press conference Tuesday.

Jules Ameel

Aman Obsiye, a former candidate for Ward 6 Councilmember, spoke on behalf of Somali Voices, a coalition of eight organizations claiming to represent the Somali community at a press conference Tuesday.

Members of the Minneapolis Somali community applauded the recent indictments of two Somali men on terrorism related charges at a press conference Tuesday, which emphasized that the men acted against the views of the community. A federal grand jury indicted Salah Osman Ahmed of Brooklyn Park, Minn. and Abdifatah Yusuf Isse of Seattle in February for providing support to terrorists and conspiracy to “kill, kidnap, maim or injure” people in foreign countries, though the indictments were made public only last week. âÄúThe men left voluntarily, raised their own funds and recruited each other [for jihad],âÄù Aman Obsiye said, speaking on behalf of Somali Voices, a coalition of eight organizations claiming to represent the Somali community. âÄúWe are happy that the facts now show that no religious institutions were involved in the recruiting of these men,âÄù Obsiye said. The Somali community needs to get involved in public policy in order to repair a broken government system, Hashi Shafi of the Somali Action Alliance said. For this reason, Mahamed Cali, of the Somali American Community, plans to challenge Democrat incumbent Ward 6 councilmember Robert Lilligren this fall under Green Party endorsement, he said. âÄúWe need to fix the public education system collectively,âÄù Cali said, referring to the lack of bilingual classes for Somalis. âÄúThe system never put programs in place.âÄù Obsiye was the endorsed Green Party candidate until June, but had to drop out for personal reasons, Green Party spokesman Dave Bicking said. The Green Party has not officially endorsed a candidate, as no potential candidates have officially stepped forward for consideration. The party encouraged Cali to run, Bicking said. The councilmember election will be won based on his policies, not race, Obsiye said. âÄú[Cali] is heavily invested in Ward 6,âÄù Obsiye said. âÄúHe has a good chance of winning with backing by a party.âÄù Cali came to Minneapolis in 2007 and was a candidate in the 2009 presidential election of the African country Djibouti , though he dropped out before voting, he said. âÄúIâÄôve got enough support,âÄù Cali said. âÄúIâÄôm excited.âÄù The Green Party may endorse a candidate in a special August meeting, or may wait until September, Bicking said. âÄúI think itâÄôs a wide open free-for-all in Ward 6,âÄù Bicking said. âÄúThere are a number of candidates that will run strong campaigns [aimed at] various demographics.âÄù Pertinent issues in Ward 6 include housing, police conduct and support for small businesses, Bicking said. Additional low-income housing and increased programs for education will help with all of these problems, Cali said. âÄúTo get an education, people first need to have a life. That means low-income housing.âÄù The community must also be informed to work with police, Cali said. âÄúA large immigrant community lives in this neighborhood âÄì not just Somalis. They have a fear of the police, and they need to understand that this is our government and they will protect us,âÄù he said.