I will reflect later on the many thoughts I have on seeing Mayor Betsy Hodges and other supporters of the racist & Islamophobic entrapment program (CVE) coming together for a photo op at the expense of Muslim refugees but first, let’s unpack councilman Abdi Warsame.
For years activists have rallied against CVE especially right here in Minneapolis. But Abdi Warsame, along with members of the Coalition of Somali Leaders and the Somali American Task Force (the latter put together by the DOJ for CVE purposes), flew to Washington in 2015 to tell a room full of people who make decisions that impact our lives, that the City of Minneapolis desperately needed CVE. Of course, Warsame doesn’t use that language, he instead focuses on the “job creation” of CVE. In light of the remarks made by community members such as myself, Warsame was questioned on his support of CVE. He brushed it off as just “being a part of initial conversations” and makes it clear that he doesn’t support it. Maybe 2015 is too far off in the past for a council member to be held to his statements and views.
But how does that explain the trip that councilman Abdi Warsame took as recently as September 2016 to Morocco, funded by the state department, to speak on the “radicalization of the youth”? Again, in the Star Tribune article, Warsame references unemployment and job creation without directly disclosing the source of the funds (CVE). Our councilmember has the time to publish op-eds on the hurt feelings of Islamophobia but has the time to fly across the world to teach other countries of deradicalization. I live in Ward 6 (but I may as well be saying District 11 at this point), the ward Warsame represents, and I can’t fathom the justification that in order for me to have access to employment that my community must first be labeled inherently violent and in need of drastic rehabilitation through social service.
The largest, most influential proponents of CVE in Minneapolis are scrambling to distance themselves from this fascist and racist policy following the election of a man clearly intent on destroying the homes and lives of Muslims. Now is not the time to turn to leaders whose only allegiance lies squarely with their own interests. It is also not the time to make warm, feel good invitations of solidarity without the actual work that comes with it. If you’ve decided to be idle no more, to trust the communities that have been telling you since day 1 that these policies hurt more than they help, then I encourage to support the organizations that actually do the work.
Organizations like Young Muslim Collective and Black Liberation Project are actually on the ground doing this work. Support them. Use your bodies. Use your pockets. Whatever you do, don’t be complacent.
PS: Don’t be fooled by the promise of private funders. Private funders, such as the Carlson Family Foundation have given funds to the CVE effort in collaboration with DHS, DOJ, and other governmental agencies.
Photo credits: http://www.startribune.com/minneapolis-council-member-abdi-warsame-pledges-to-build-new-somali-mall/410599345/