Controversy Over Somali Muslim Immigrant Communities in Small N.E. Town

October 20, 2002

Source: Los Angeles Times

On October 20, 2002 the Los Angeles Times reported that "more than 1,500 Somali refugees [arrived] in this fading industrial city about 30 miles north of Portland. The large influx of families -- most of them Muslim -- from East Africa came swiftly, in just 18 months. For longtime residents and newcomers alike, the sudden population shift has brought a sense of mutual culture shock. At Frenchy's Barber Shop, a one-chair establishment... 'Frenchy' Langlois said he was 15 when he hopped a train in French-speaking Canada 48 years ago and made his way south to Maine. When he got here, some people bitterly charged him with trying to take away jobs, Langlois remembered. That experience, he said, made it easy to put himself in the Somalis' shoes."