"Q: What measures will be taken against the thousands of refugees who have come into the United States through the P-3 program in the last 20 years?
"A: That is a question for the Department of Homeland Security."
Even as the State Department sends responsibility for this demoralizing incompetence into the ozone, the apparent consequences stay fixed on the ground -- whether in the meatpacking plants of small-town America, where this year's Ramadan was the occasion for workplace strife with mainly Somali Muslims striking over demands for Islamic prayer breaks, or in big-time politics.
In Minnesota, the largest Somali Muslim community in the United States (numbering tens of thousands of people) now holds a key to state political power. This same Somali community has made news before, for example, with attempts by Somali taxi drivers to enforce aspects of Islamic law (Sharia) in refusing to transport passengers with alcohol or seeing-eye dogs due to Islamic prohibitions against alcohol and dogs. But now, as the U.S. Senate race goes to an automatic recount after Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., defeated Democratic challenger Al Franken by a 215-vote margin, Minnesota's Somali community is again making a few headlines.
Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., who famously swore his 2007 oath of office on the Koran as the first Muslim elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, routinely declares that his 7,000-vote margin of victory came from Somali Muslims. Last month, Ellison was campaigning for that same Somali Muslim vote on behalf of Al Franken.
And what's newsworthy about that? In this case, the point is not that Ellison was campaigning for the Somali vote, but rather with whom he was campaigning.
According to AsianTribune.com, after Ellison made a standard, if Somalii-oriented campaign pitch on behalf of Franken before a gathering of Minnesota Somalis, another speaker appeared before the crowd. Described in the report as a "highly regarded prominent Somali traditional leader" -- i.e., a Somali leader from Somalia, not Minnesota -- Abdullahi Ugas Farah spoke on behalf of the Ellison-Franken cause. "In order for Keith to be helpful to the situation in Somalia, you must also elect Al Franken to the Senate," he said.
Now, there's something new on the American hustings: a "Somali traditional" leader. Curious, I Googled Abdullahi Ugas Farah and came up with one news story, a 2003 brief from the Asia Africa Intelligence Wire headlined, "New Islamic court opens in Mogadishu." The story reported that Abdullahi Ugas Farah was one of two speakers who presided over the opening ceremony for a new Sharia court in Mogadishu's Shirkole area.
From Sharia courts in Mogadishu to an Al Franken rally in Minnesota.
Only in ... America?