Articles by SA STAFF

Minneapolis city leaders urge renters to report discrimination against Section 8 vouchers

By: Katelyn Vue The city passed an ordinance in 2017 to prohibit landlords from treating Section 8 renters differently, but legal fights prevented it from taking effect until last December. The city of Minneapolis recently began enforcing an ordinance that prohibits landlords from discriminating against renters who use government-issued Section 8 vouchers under an ordinance that passed five years ago. City officials are educating renters about the ordinance to encourage them to file complaints when necessary. Eight complaints have been filed by Minneapolis renters so far, said Kaela McConnon Diarra, director of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Complaint Investigation Division.* The ordinance is intended to protect low-income families vulnerable to discrimination against landlords who deny them housing or treat them differently for relying on Section 8 vouchers, which are used to partially cover rental expenses. The federal government provides rental subsidies that the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority administers to renters in different forms, including Section 8 vouchers. “When you look at the passage of the ordinance, it was because people were having a really hard time placing these Section 8 vouchers, which can be so useful for low income people,” said attorney Elana Dahlager. “It’s such an important way for people…


New St. Paul facility helps East African women struggling with substance abuse

By: Abdirizak Diis In response to the growing need for culturally sensitive substance abuse treatment, the Alliance Wellness Center has unveiled a facility dedicated to helping young East African women grappling with drug addiction, the first of its kind in the metro area. Yussuf Shafie, founder and CEO of Alliance Wellness Center, welcomed about two dozen visitors to the new facility in St. Paul’s Highland Park neighborhood in mid-October. Shafie emphasized that the facility is staffed with culturally competent and trauma-informed professionals who possess a deep understanding of the needs of young East African women, who might suffer from stigma, social isolation, and family neglect. The residential facility, which accommodates up to eight people, offers programs and services including gender-specific group therapy, individual therapy, medication-assisted treatment, culturally appropriate counseling, and halal meals. Its ultimate goal is to guide women struggling with substance use disorder toward complete recovery and prepare them for successful reintegration into society. Shafie said a women-only treatment facility was necessary because of the significant difference in how Somali culture views young women seeking help for substance abuse. “Most of the time, people view them negatively, call them names, and they become socially isolated, and that is not…


Somali music arrives in the classroom through book with Burnsville roots

By: Becky Z. Dernbach On a recent Thursday, the school day hadn’t yet started at Burnsville’s Gideon Pond Elementary School. But a long-awaited moment had arrived. In her music classroom, Becca Buck opened a brown paper envelope. “Here we go!” she said. “Our baby!” Buck and her co-author Qorsho Hassan, who met as teachers at Gideon Pond, were about to hold their new book—The Rhythm of Somalia: A Collection of Songs, Stories, and Traditions—for the first time. “OMG,” Qorsho exclaimed, as Buck slid the sunset-orange cover out of the envelope. The two friends examined their book cover in awe, taking in every detail. They praised the care illustrator Joof Farah had taken in designing a dynamic musical scene. On the cover, a man and a woman dance dhaanto in front of an aqal, or nomadic home. The woman’s hijab and skirt move with her steps. The man’s elbow is slightly cut off by the spiral binding, Buck observed. “We’re going to notice every detail,” she said. The book began as a master’s thesis for Buck, who was completing her degree in music education. Then her adviser, Karen Howard, suggested she turn the project into a book. Buck and Qorsho teamed…


Ask a Scholar November 23

ASK A SCHOLAR NOVEMBER 2023   I sent out greeting cards to all my contacts in my mailing list with generic greetings which read as follows HAPPY HOLIDAYS MERRY CHRISTMASWE WISH EVERYONE A HEALTHY HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS new year the question is some one has accused me of being a KAFIR to send this type of email??? is this accusation correct? There is nothing wrong in wishing Christians Merry Christmas or Hindus Happy Divali or Jews Happy Rosh Hashanah. By doing so, you are not in any way subscribing to the specific dogmas or rituals associated with those celebrations. Instead, you only wish them well on their happy occasions. Muslims are to greet others as we would like them to greet us. The generic Islamic greeting is salaam or peace: the full words are Assalaamu Alaikum: I greet you with peace. According to a report from the Prophet (peace be upon him), Allah ordered Adam to greet the angels with salaam and also told him: “This shall be the words of greeting for you and your children.” However, there is no harm in using the standard greeting common to people. If you are greeting Christians, you may wish them Happy…


Ask a Scholar May 23

ASK A MUSLIM SCHOLAR MAY 2023   Assalam o Alaikum. I am in a tough situation and want guidance. We have 2 children together. We have been married for almost 12 years but have known each other for almost 20 years.slI settled in America and we got married after I secured a job. In the past few years and especially in the past 2 years I have started to dislike this country’s environment for my children’s upbringing. I have expressed interest to move to a muslim country with a possibility of better pay and better environment for my children, but my wife and her mother refuse to accept it. Infact whenever I start talking about this topic she starts a fight to a point where we are yelling at each other and my wife starts physically pushing me. She even starts crying loudly asking Allah to destroy me for upsetting her peace. She also said that her relationship ended with her. I hv tried all ways. Her mother supports her decision. What should I do?     I am sorry to hear about your predicament. Did you have any agreement with your wife when you got married? For example, did…


Minnesota House approves safety bill for workers at Amazon facilities and other warehouses

BY: ALFONZO GALVAN   The bill passed on a vote of 69-60, and would ensure breaks during the workday and give workers access to data on how fast they’re working. “We are listening to warehouse workers and acting to protect workers now, and to ensure that their dangerous, high-tech model does not spread to other warehouses and other industries where it could injure more Minnesotans,” bill author Representative Emma Greenman  (DFL–Minneapolis) said in a news release about the vote. “Passing this bill is a necessary step towards ensuring all Minnesotans are safe in the workplace.” According to a news release from the Minnesota House: Employers with 100 or more employees at one warehouse distribution center or 1,000 or more employees at one or more warehouse distribution centers would be affected by the bill, which now goes to the Senate for a vote. The bill also requires such corporations to give their workers written notice of the quotas and standards expected of them, and to explain how performance is measured. The information must be shared in the worker’s preferred language. The performance information must be shared with employees when they are hired, and again two days before any modifications to the…


Afro Deli owner named National Small Business Person of the Year

By: Alfonzo Galvan   Minnesota’s own Abdirahman Kahin of Afro Deli & Grill was named the National Small Business Person of the Year for 2023 at an awards ceremony Monday in Washington, D.C. This prestigious award recognizes entrepreneurs who demonstrate exceptional leadership and create sustainable, thriving businesses in their communities, according to a news release from the U.S. Small Business Administration. “Our 2023 National Small Business Person of the Year, Minnesota’s Abdirahman Kahin, CEO and owner of Afro Deli & Grill, reflects the best of American entrepreneurship,” the group’s administrator, Isabella Casillas Guzman, said in the release. “Abdirahman has pursued the American dream of business ownership—overcoming challenges, launching multiple food businesses, pivoting during COVID, and lifting local neighborhoods along the way.  He combines great ideas with hard work and diligence, and we are honored that SBA has been a part of his successful and ongoing journey.” The award is given during National Small Business Week, led by the U.S. Small Business Administration for 60 years, from April 30 to May 6. During the week, the SBA recognizes the hard work, ingenuity, and dedication of America’s small businesses and celebrates their contributions to the economy, according to the release. Kahin was named the Minnesota Small Business…


Mosque Fire Outcry

Several Minnesota lawmakers, other elected officials, and community leaders gathered at the state Capitol Wednesday, April 20th 2023 to show solidarity with the Muslim community after two Minneapolis mosques experienced fires this week. Some expressed concerns that mosques are being targeted in hate crimes, and many noted that the attendees at Wednesday afternoon’s news conference showcase the state’s true spirit. Dozens of people, including several local imams, packed the event. “This is how we show up for each other,” said DFL Representative Hodan Hassan, who represents the area in south Minneapolis where the fires occurred. “This is the Minnesota that all of us believe in. This is the Minnesota that we want. In this room is the real Minnesota, but out there, there is some notion that we don’t belong. “I belong in Minnesota—I’m a Minnesotan, but I’m also Muslim Minnesotan and I’m also Somali American, and I am proud of all of my layers… And no one should be afraid to go and pray at their most sacred space.” A fire broke out Sunday evening in a bathroom of the Masjid Omar Islamic Center and was quickly extinguished by congregants before it could spread. Another fire broke out Monday at…


Ask a Scholar Oct 2022

I want to work in the financial sector, there is interest involved. I have an interest in working in this field. Please guide me whether I should pursue my career in this sector or not? Please reply soon. Thanking you. You are allowed to work in the financial sector. Expertise in this field is vital for the survival of the community. As Imam Ghazali has stated learning arts or sciences that are crucial for the survival of the society should be encouraged. It is a fard Kifayah or collective duty; in other words, if the community does not have experts in the field, they are guilty before Allah. Therefore, it is okay for you to work in this field if you have the training to serve in this area. However, while doing so, you should avoid that which is haram. Not everything you do in the field is haram. Islamic rule when you deal with cases where there is a mixture of haram and halal is to seek to purify the elements of haram. So, it would help if you cleaned your income by making lots of Istighfaar and giving charities (on top of the obligatory Zakah). Allah says, “Good…


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Small Business Development Center Announces Regional Host Centers for 2023-2025

Regional centers provide no-cost services to businesses throughout the state   St. Paul – The Minnesota Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) today announced the results of a Request for Proposal (RFP) to host SBDC regional centers throughout Minnesota. A total of nine regional hosts were selected, including seven returning SBDC regional hosts and two newly awarded regional hosts. Minnesota State Community and Technical College (M State) in Moorhead is the new West Central regional host, and Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (RAEDI) will serve as the new Southeast regional host. These nine SBDC regional centers (complete list below) will provide business services for a three-year period beginning January 1, 2023. Another outcome of the RFP is that the African Development Center (ADC) will now cooperate with the University of St. Thomas Minneapolis Campus as a satellite center to bring SBDC services to the ADC network in the Twin Cities, Willmar, St. Cloud and Rochester. “Minnesota’s Small Business Development Centers are an extraordinary resource for businesses throughout the state of Minnesota – and I don’t think enough small businesses know about them,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “We’re thrilled to expand their footprint in…