In a bid to find solution to rising teen issues, members of the Muslim community came together on Sunday to discuss the incidents of teen violence over the past few months.
Gathering inside AIM Academy, next to Abubakar As-Saddique Islamic Center, faith leaders, parents and community members discussed ways they can help teenagers in the community, CBS News reported.
“It’s become an issue of everybody,” Abubakar As-Saddique Islamic Center Executive Director Abdullahi Farah said.
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After recent incidents which resulted in the arrest of sixteen teenagers during a chaotic 4th of July holiday, Farah confirmed that those teens are not representative of the Somali-American community as a whole.
“All our kids are not bad. But we feel the system is failing them, they are not getting the right opportunities and resources they are supposed to get,” he said.
Blaming economic disparities and lack of activities during summer break, Muslim leaders said that social media plays a role in spreading bad models.
“I think the main problem is imitation. Some of them wouldn’t even think it’s a big deal, they think it’s a cool thing, they want to record themselves, but they don’t understand the consequences of those actions,” Mowlid Ali, the imam of Abubakar As-Saddique Islamic Center, said.
Ali added that the Islamic center was already working to get parents more involved through messages online and during sermons.
“A lot of parents might not be aware of what’s happening, they might not be aware of the whereabouts of their own children, but raising awareness I think will help make parents to be more vigilant,” Ali said.
Imams and other faith leaders have been on the streets of Dinkytown late at night trying to engage with teens and deter bad behavior over the past weeks.
“I want to invite every single person who has an idea, an initiative, whatever it may be, a program to help young people,” Ali said.
“Please come forward, come to us. Don’t be part of the blame. Be part of the solution.”
According to US Census Bureau, Somalis are an ethnic group in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area that makes up the largest Somali diasporas in the United States.
By 2018, approximately 43,000 people born in Somalia were living in Minnesota, and approximately 94,000 Minnesotans spoke Somali, Amharic, or a related language at home.