ORIGINAL HEADLINE: “Somalis’ assimilation in Colorado farm town stymied by lack of mosque.” BETTER HEADLINE: “Somali Muslims want a mosque so they can finish creating a Muslim-only parallel society in another American town.”
TRIB Live: FORT MORGAN, CO — For the last decade, Somali refugees have flocked to this conservative farm town on Colorado’s eastern plains. They have started a small halal mini-market and a restaurant, sent their children to the schools, and worked at a meat processing plant (from which they were fired for demanding to pray during working hours).
As much as Fort Morgan’s small town feel reminds many of their rural villages back home, some say they will feel like outsiders until they get what has eluded them: a permanent mosque. They are renting two small rooms for a makeshift version, for now.
Some longtime residents say they don’t want one in their city of 12,000, a step too far, especially at a time when fears of terrorism have grown following the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif.
Putting a mosque “right in the center of town” would be a symbol “as if to claim the town,” said Candace Loomis, who runs a coffee shop and whose grandparents settled this country of sweeping horizons in a two-room sod house.
It’s a challenge for refugees who fled violence to integrate into a society whose citizens worry about that very same violence at home. Residents say they want to be welcoming. But hesitations remain, especially about Muslim refugees.
“There’s a general feeling out there of, ‘Let’s slow this train down a bit,’ ” Morgan County Sheriff Jim Crone said. “It’s a sense of: ‘We don’t mind people coming here. Just be part of the process.’”
What happened in San Bernardino solidified for a lot of residents their worries about how the United States vets refugees, Crone said.
“Some people will throw the racist card to that attitude,” he said. “That’s not what it’s about. It’s about a lack of social structure in their homelands. To ignore that kind of stuff is just not proper. But that doesn’t mean you’re going to treat them any different.”
Courtesy of Freedom Outpost
Walid Shoebat is a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood who was converted to Christianity, and author of the book, God’s War on Terror.
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