Somali-Americans in Minnesota protest hate crimes in South Africa
ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -
Members of Minnesota's Somali-American community converged on the State Capitol steps Friday to protest persistent xenophobia and recent violence against Somali refugees in South Africa.
While they say hate crimes against refugees have been a problem for the past ten years, the outrage boiled over on May 31, when Somali shopkeeper Abdi Nasir Mahmoud Good was brutally killed by a mob.
Good was stoned and stabbed to death, attacked with bricks, knives and machetes. His brother told Voice of America "you would not think he was killed by human beings...he looked as if he was eaten by a hyena."
Five other Somalis were reportedly injured in the mob violence and almost every Somali-owned business in the Port Elizabeth neighborhood was burned or looted.
The response from the South African government has been equally unsettling to Somali refugees around the world. While the Cabinet called on communities to "be vigilant against the possible resurgence of criminal violence targeting foreign nationals," they were "cautious not to label this violence as xenophobia because preliminary evidence indicates that these acts may be driven primarily by criminality."
On Sunday, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud urged South African President Jacob Zuma to investigate the killing of Abdi Nasir Mahmoud Good.
Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison attended Friday's rally "to express sympathy and solidarity with Somali victims of violence in South Africa."