U of M report finds high autism rates among Somali and white children in Minneapolis

Categories: Somalis, U of M
Colin Kloecker
Riverside Plaza on the West Bank.
The fears started in 2008: That autism in Minnesota was more prevalent among Somali children. In 2009, the New York Times wrote, "Autism is terrifying the community of Somali immigrants in Minneapolis."

On Monday, the U of M released the largest-ever study related to autism in the Somali community, and it finally puts some numbers to the mystery. The report found that in Minneapolis, the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder is higher among two particular groups: Somali children and white children.

See Also:
- The Minnesota Disease: Autism in the Somali community
- Minnesota Somali families facing autism

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Jon Stewart rips Fox News over coverage of Star Tribune story

Screenshot of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart
The morning talk show Fox & Friends took issue Monday with a Strib story about a St. Paul YMCA swim class for Muslim girls that was organized with the support of police.

"The minority becoming the majority at one community pool," says newsreader Heather Nauert. "Sharia law is now changing everything."

The segment was short but absurd enough to catch the eye of the Daily Show's Jon Stewart. In the clip below, the camera cuts from Nauert to Stewart, whose shrieking fills the gap in sound where, in some campy horror movie, a pounding of piano keys might have followed.

SEE ALSO: Fox News turns to Minnesota Majority, pro-voter ID group, for "objective" analysis [VIDEO]

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Michele Bachmann is worried about Somali terrorists attacking the Mall of America [AUDIO]

bachmann islam rect.jpg
Ron Paul was on to something here...
Last December, Michele Bachmann went on Jan Markell's radio show and said she spent 2012 fretting about the Obama administration's alleged efforts to implement Sharia law here in the United States.

SEE ALSO: The Onion's "Bachmann Thankful No Americans Died In Sikh Shooting" story dupes dozens

Over the weekend, she returned to the show, which discusses "current events in light of biblical end-time prophecy," and said she thinks the end times are indeed upon us. She also seconded Markell's worry that radical Somalis might attempt a Kenya-style terrorist attack at the Mall of America. So, on the whole, it was pretty uplifting stuff.

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What we know about Minnesota's connection to the Kenya mall massacre

Categories: Somalis
Mukhtar Ibrahim on Twitter
A video released last month by al-Shabaab showed this photo of Kastigar, a young man who was recruited from Minnesota to jihad and martyrdom in East Africa.
On Sunday, reports circulated that two Somali men who recently lived in Minnesota may have taken part in al-Shabaab's massacre of more than 60 civilians at the Westgate mall in Nairobi, Kenya.

But later reports indicated the purportedly Shabaab-managed Twitter account that linked the Minnesota to the attack was a fake. Below the jump, we analyze what we know and don't know at this point about a possible local connection to the carnage.

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Two Minnesotans may be among attackers in Kenyan mall massacre

Categories: Religion, Somalis
Still from a recruitment video featuring the stories of three men who traveled from Minneapolis to Somalia for jihad.
Two Minnesotans may be among the group that slaughtered shoppers of Nairobi's Westgate mall this weekend with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

An English-language Twitter account purporting to speak for al-Shabab, Somalia's al-Qaeda affiliate, live-tweeted the massacre. Before the social-networking service shut down the feed, it claimed to identify 10 of the gunmen, including three Americans in their 20s.

SEE ALSO: Al-Shabaab recruitment video features men who traveled from Mpls to Somalia for jihad

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Al-Shabaab recruitment video features men who traveled from Mpls to Somalia for jihad

Categories: Somalis
This still from the video shows when Dahir Gure left Minnesota and when he died in Somalia.
Al-Shabaab's latest recruitment video features the stories of three men who traveled from Minneapolis to Somalia for jihad.

All three men left for Somalia in 2007 or 2008 and were dead within two years.

SEE ALSO: Military contractor reportedly proposed "psy-ops" against Mpls Somali's "extremist" website

In the video, Troy Kastigar, a Native American who converted to Islam in 2004, tells viewers, "This is the real Disney Land."

"You need to come over here, join us, and take pleasure in this fun," Kastigar adds.

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Military contractor reportedly proposed "psy-ops" against Mpls Somali's "extremist" website

Categories: Somalis
A report written by a defense contractor described Warsame (pictured) as "a young man who lives in Minnesota, is known for his extremist believes [sic] by Minneapolis Somali residents."
A U.S. Defense Department contractor branded a widely read Minneapolis-based Somali news site as "extremist," with its "chief goal" characterized as "to disseminate propaganda supportive" of the al-Shabab Islamist militia, according to a Washington Post report.

SEE ALSO: Cindy Pugh, candidate for state Representative, compares Muslim women to garbage bags

The contractor, the Northern Virginia-based Navanti Group, later proposed waging a psychological operations, or "psy-ops," campaign against the Somali- and English-language site (somalimidnimo.com, or United Somalia), which is run by 30-year-old Minneapolis bus driver Abdiwali Warsame. In a May 2012 report, Navanti suggested it could repeatedly repost reader comments critical of al-Shabab in order to discredit Warsame's viewpoint, the Post reports.

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Toronto takes lessons from Minneapolis police's work in Cedar-Riverside

Categories: Police, Somalis
Elizabeth Gales via Minnesota Local History | Flickr Creative Commons
Riverside Plaza, the landmark West Bank apartment complex.
In Toronto, six men of Somali descent have been shot and killed since June. As the city searches for solutions, CBC News (Canada's version of the BBC) is suggesting that it might be able to find answers across the border, in the Minneapolis police's success reducing crime in Cedar-Riverside.

See also:
- Feature: Minneapolis Somali community facing dark web of murders: They came to escape civil war, so why are they killing each other in the streets?
- Minneapolis Somalis testifying before Congress
- Feature: Better Days: They went through hell in Mogadishu. But for 17-year-old Mohamed Abdullahi and other Somali immigrants, in Minneapolis it's still an uphill climb.

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Macalester professor takes sabbatical to run for president -- of Somalia

Categories: Elections, Somalis
screenshot from Dalmar Media interview
Dr. Ahmed Samatar, international studies professor and former dean at Macalester, is running for president of Somalia.
-- Somalis walk off job at Minnesota dessert factory in protest of company's new burqa ban
-- Somali immigrant visa petitions stalling over identity paperwork
-- Money-wiring shutdown worries local Somalis

Professors tend to go on sabbatical to write a book, conduct research, or just think deeply without the distractions of teaching. But Ahmed Samatar, a professor of international studies at Macalester, has taken time off from his university duties to see if he can apply his writing, researching, and thinking to life. He's running for president of Somalia.

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Dianne's Fine Desserts harassed Somalis, used racial slurs, says CAIR

Categories: Somalis
Wikimedia Commons
The Council on American-Islamic Relations is preparing to file discrimination charges against Dianne's Fine Desserts for allegedly mistreating Somali workers.

About 45 Somali workers walked off their work site because they refused to follow a new dress code mandating that workers roll up their skirts so they are "15 inches from the ground," which some are calling a "burqa ban." CAIR's president says that new policy was merely a pretext for something more sinister.

"We have more going on here than just a new dress code," Lori Saroya told the Faribault Daily News. "We're hearing about an extremely hostile work environment that they've been dealing with. We're hearing the dress code was created to target the Somali employees because the company knew they couldn't comply with it so they could get rid of them. Many of these people are reporting being subjected to other forms of harassment, and it's shocking."

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