Friday, March 13, 2009

Homegrown Terrorism & Stupidity in Winter Cultural Fashions

Minneapolis has become the focus of a wide-ranging FBI investigation into a terrorist group's recruitment of young immigrant men for service in Somalia's ethnic and religious warfare.

"We have seen Al-Qaida franchise itself around the world ..."
Is this like McDonald's? Call 800-4TERROR now to ask about the franchise opportunities in your neighborhood for extremists. Evangelical Christians need not apply.

"Somali youth talk more about March Madness, Kobe Bryant, and the NFL draft than they do about [him],"
At least the discussion of March Madness isn't a total wash: the Gophers are managing to not loose all of their games. (mind you, "not lose" isn't quite the same thing as "win".)

Rep. Keith Ellison, the Minneapolis Democrat who became the first Muslim elected to Congress.
This implies there's been more than one, rather than "Ellison ... the only one who managed to get in"

If they're sitting around wondering why their kids are haring off to the Old Country with no clue about Reality ... they'd do better trying to integrate into Main-Stream America. Walking through Riverside (a.k.a. Little Mogadishu) is a fashion parade of eastern Africa. I really don't care what culturally-specific clothing people wear. I encourage people to keep their traditional languages alive, and am happy the Hennepin County Library system has Somaali books. (In fact, the only foreign language books in East Lake, Hosmer or Hopkins are Spanish and Somaali.)

The avoidance of being American is what leads naive children to do stupid things in pursuit of someone else's nationalism. If the kids had more ties to being American, and seeing America as their primary nationality, they'd be less likely to go wandering off in pursuit of someon else 's nationalistic goals. (Although, admittedly the problem in Somali seems to be the predominance of ethnicity rather than nationalism.)

Speaking of cultural fashion: there are several different groups of traditional/semi-traditionally clothed females around here. The traditional Somalis are quite noticeable with their head-to-toe veil-coverings. While I certainly couldn't tell, at least it would lend itself to wearing warm clothes in the Minnesota Winters.

The other Muslim traditionalists with hijabs are a common sight. Yesterday the weather was -3F when I left for the Light Rail to campus. The wind chill was at least -25F. I'm standing inside the shelter at Lake Street Station. A young woman is there wearing a hijab, coat and ankle-length skirt. Totally unremarkable sight, except ... she wasn't wearing gloves. Okay, a stupidity shared by quite a few others on the platform. Her hijab is a sheer, lightweight cotton/polyester - a stupidity shared by all the other women with them. Why don't you ever see them in heavy cotton flannel or thermal fleece? Not fashionable enough? But what made me struggle to not laugh: Because she was backlit in the bright morning sun, I could also see that her skirt was really sheer. I could see her legs clear up to her knees, where the skirt lining stopped. I was left wondering if she even realized this ... Cultural compliance in form, but not substance.

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