Somalia, a tiny country in the Horn of East Africa with rich of natural sources, once used to be called the “paradise of Africa” has lost itself in the eyes of the international and local community. A war has been going on for about 20 years, and children who were born at the beginning of the civil war have kids now. Many Somali families/parents fled with their children from this hostile environment, in which no one no longer knows who is to blame for committing this calamous crime. Many of these families fled to many parts of the world, and many of them chose to come to Minnesota, United States of America, to have a basic life of education, freedom, food and shelter for their children. Many needs such as education and work were acquired, even though many negatives arose, and outcomes did not come as was expected.
Young People, 2007-2008
However, what is going on with the lives of Somali youngsters for the last couple of years has been shocking and outrageous to many of us. About seven Somali boys lost their lives in shootings from other local Somali boys. The number of drop outs in schools is high rocketing among Somali teenagers, robberies and other mischievous actions are unimaginable to be mentioned here. Jails are filled up by Somali youngsters and studies show the number of Somali youngsters in jails have increased in double digits since the last couple of years. Many others are lost in the middle, hanging outside with no value in this life. Lack of parental care and communication, positive role models within the community, failure of public school systems to accommodate their needs, to be named of few, are to blame for these causes.
Young People, 2008-2009
As the community grieves the loss of these young men, and uncertain future of many others, the community encounters another dreadful dilemma, in which is yet not known for its bases. 2008-2009, Somali young men have gone back to Somalia to fight in the civil war. However, there are no clear answers to some basic questions such as why they have left until now and investigation is still going on. Somali people have had enough difficulties already abroad and back home, a whole society with no functioning government for about two decades, one can imagine how serious the conditions of such people are. Everything, including the rule of law, has been eradicated because of lack of order everybody does anything he or she wants.
Young People, 2010
As the community grieves, another despicable act arise, Human tracking for commercial sex, Somali girls by Somali boys. It is a phenomenon of shock, taboo and unacceptable both religiously and culturally. Anyone who knows the situation of the young people probably knows the state of many of them. There are too many catastrophic cases with young people from killing to radicalization to drop outs to adultery to robbery, but this is just part of a bigger problem that the community is facing as whole, and still in as state of denial to acknowledge and look for the correct way to solve it. If the following areas are not urgently corrected more faces will be shown in the media soon and calamity will even be bigger than what we thought.
Financial Corruption: There are corruptions on welfare systems, tax return, business, and care systems, such as home health care whether senior or child care.
Corruptions on Social affairs: Division, disunity, and envy are social norms. Political confusion and tribalism are daily talk. Sitting in star bucks and malls to talk about the crisis in Somalia, to add fuel the already burring fires is normal life style for many men. Unemployment rate is very high, where many are unable to allocate a job. Both divorce and children of single parents, bachelorism and unmarried young adults are all high.
Corruptions on Education: Drop outs from academic schools to Islamic education are out of hands. Students are graduating from high schools without a proper and adequacy knowledge and many of them ended up not succeeding in collages. The number of young people who are either drop outs or do not start school in the first place are getting high day after day.
Misunderstanding and Twisting on Islam itself: Religion suppose to be preventing people from all above mischievousness, but unfortunate religion is misused. It was the only thing that we have left, and we know how Islam is being manipulated. Islam was understood only for blaming and killing others. Islam was misunderstood completely, what a catastrophic and a loss.
The issues and problems are immense and complicated, but everything has a solution as the prophet (pbuh) said, every disease has a cure. Therefore, the following would be cure for the above ailments
1. To understand Islam as once’ way of life. In many cases people are trying to disassociate Islam from their daily lives.
2. To understand that Islam is for all, and not for a group or ethnicity and that Allah is the provider and sustainer of this world
3. To understand that Islam is a contemporary religion that is applicable to our lives every time, location and situation. That means, it is not hard nor does it contradict to our lives. It is a religion of every century and generation. Taken Islam as your way of life enables you to
a. build one’s relationship with the Creator
b. understand and be honest with oneself
c. build good relationship with once’ family relative, friends and societies
4. To understand that Allah created this world for everyone and that we need coexistence and collaboration
5. To understand that this country is our country and we need to be a good participants and citizens of this country.
6. We need to take the responsibility, and be honest to ourselves and stop being in denial. We do not even admit to our mistakes, which is not acceptable for both Islamically and the country’s legal system. For example, when Somali boys were killing other Somali boys, if we could have told the law enforcement who were the killers from the beginning, we could have solved many problems. Now, the case of human trafficking for commercial sex, we are still in denial. Another case will come; we will be still in denial? Dar Al-Hijrah Youth Council made play couple years ago on how our youth went three different directions, before even boys were killed or went to Somalia to participate in the civil war, before the sex ring,. Some people said to (DYC), “You guys are saying something bad about our community, do not tell this to none-Somalis. This shows, we are not facing the reality, we are in denial.
7. We need to support those who are doing good for the community and for the society in general.
8. We need to be proactive and not reactive, making responds only when it is too late to do anything from it
9. We need to be serious for our children’s education and their life affairs
a. What do they learn? Whom do they hung out with/ their friends? What do they want?
10. Leaders, educators, elders and Imams should provide the community
a. a sense of leadership
b. agenda and curriculum on
- how to adapt the system and live the country while at same time preserving the identity of Islam to the fullest
- how to participate and learn from the good things from this country while avoiding bad things at same time
- how to benefit the opportunities of this country and at same time contribute to the country positively