Demonstrators Support Area Muslim Group

June 14, 2009

Author: David Chanen

Source: Star Tribune

Representatives from more than a dozen Somali civil, religious and political organizations gathered Saturday to rebut allegations that a Muslim civil rights group is blocking an FBI inquiry into the disappearances of dozens of Twin Cities Somali men.

Last week, relatives of a Minneapolis teenager who said he was recently killed in Somalia and a Somali community leader claimed that the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Minnesota chapter was discouraging area Somalis from cooperating with the FBI. But supporters Saturday said CAIR has only advised Somalis about their civil rights and urged them to tell the truth and work with law enforcement.

"I was at CAIR's three workshops for people who were issued subpoenas by the FBI and others seeking help and this was consistently the group's message," said Omar Hurre, executive director of Abubakar as-Saddique Islamic Center, Minneapolis' largest Somali mosque.

He was one of about 50 people who gathered to support CAIR at a park next to the Brian Coyle Community Center in Minneapolis, many holding signs saying how CAIR improved their lives. The represented groups ranged from the Somali Youth Network Council to the Muslim Student Association at Augsburg College.