Rep. Ilhan Omar says violence in Minnesota worse than in east African refugee camp

Outspoken Minnesota congresswoman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D) said this week that the violence she has seen since coming to Minnesota is worse than anything she ever saw in the east African refugee camp where she lived for several years.

In a Thursday appearance at the Gun Violence Community Conversation at North High School in Minneapolis, Omar spoke to the crowd about the four years she spent in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya after she and her family fled from civil war in Somalia when she was 8. She has often spoken publicly about her time in the camp, and described it as a “scary” place and in previous interviews has said it was “hostile” and “survival of the fittest.”

However, Omar says upon her arrival in the United States she witnessed more violent crime than she did in all her time at Dadaab. “For six years, I had the privilege of not seeing any violence, until I moved to Minnesota,” Omar said. “My first year in Minnesota I both saw a person shot at Peavey Park, dead on the floor, three weeks after my father and I arrived in Minneapolis. Six months later I watched the Minneapolis police put 38 bullets into the body of a mentally disabled Somali immigrant who didn’t speak English.”

A report published earlier this year showed “Your chance of being a victim of violent crime in Minnesota may be as high as 1 in 247 in the northwest neighborhoods,” and that assaults topped the list as the most frequent violent crime in the state.

According to International Policy Digest, the government of Kenya is exploring the possible shutdown of Dadaab due to rising rates of violent crimes in the camp such as rape, illegal firearms trading and other violent crimes.




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Laura is a freelance writer out of Maryland and a mom of three. Her background is in political science and international relations, and she has been doing political writing and editing for 17 years. Laura has also written parenting pieces for the Today Show and is currently working on writing a collection of remarkable true stories about normal people. She writes for FBA because unbiased news is vital to unity, and readers deserve the facts free of opinion.

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