MPR News interviews Mohamud Mohamed ’19 about federal youth program

mprNEWS - logoMinnesota Public Radio included an interview with Augsburg College student Mohamud Mohamed ’19 in a recent article about a federal anti-terror program aimed at Somali youth and designed to counter terrorist efforts to radicalize young American Muslims.

While Mohamed respects the stated goals of the program, he disagrees with the approach the government has taken. “For sure, let’s have community programs, let’s have after-school programs, let’s have arts and all of these things, let’s promote these things,” he said. “But the way they’ve gone about it has been inherently disingenuous. … They never once approached Somali youth as a whole, they never called a meeting, or town hall.”

Other community members interviewed in the article oppose the program for its links with the Department of Justice and concerns over potential surveillance abuses the program may allow. Mohamud Nur, of the the Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota, disagrees. “It is to help the community find better opportunities. I’m confident that the people who are going to be seeking help will get the help that they are seeking,” he said.

Mohamed also has concerns about the alienating effect such a program can have on him and his peers. “I’m being pushed into the margin, as inherently violent, inherently extreme, someone that needs to be saved from their own devices. And that’s deeply troubling. And I can’t ever sign onto that,” he said.

Read Some young Somalis voice skepticism about federal anti-terror program on the MPR site.

Star Tribune features Fardosa Hassan in story on Muslim student advisers

Minneapolis Star Tribune - logoThe Minneapolis Star Tribune recently reported on the growing number of Muslim college students and the ways that schools, including those with Christian affiliations, are adapting to the increasing religious diversity of their student bodies. One way that colleges are improving the experiences of their Muslim students is by hiring advisers like Fardosa Hassan ’12, Muslim student program associate at Augsburg College.

The article reports that since she accepted the position last summer, Hassan has organized weekly prayer meetings for Augsburg’s Muslim students, recruited the help of a therapist and imam to undercut the idea that seeking treatment for depression is un-Islamic, and has taken Religion 100 students to visit local mosques. “Islam has called me to serve my community,” Hassan said, and her work has not gone unnoticed.

When asked about Hassan, first-year student Mohamud Mohamed ’19 said that “Fardosa is our guide. She is our connection to the outside world.”

College pastor Sonja Hagander said that given the growing number of Muslim students, “it was really key to have a Muslim student adviser.”

The article notes that nationwide more than 50 colleges, including Ivy League schools such as Yale and Princeton, have hired advisers for their Muslim students.

Read More Minnesota colleges are hiring advisers to work with Muslim students on the Star Tribune site.