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Touring the US Somali Communities

Bihi estimates Somalis in Minneapolis send home $1 billion annually.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The newly elected president of Somalia plans a tour of U.S. communities with large Somali populations this fall in hopes of spreading the word about his country’s problems and getting advice for solving some of them.

Elmi Duale, Somalia’s United Nations ambassador and permanent representative, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed wants to visit communities in Minneapolis, Columbus and suburban Washington, D.C.

Thousands of Somalis have come to the United States in the two decades since civil war began tearing their country apart in the early 1990s. The country has not had a functioning central government since about 1991.
Ahmed sees the visit as a “two-way channel,” Duale said, a chance to tell Somalis in the United States about the situation at home and a way of reminding them they can help.

“It’s a way of showing the Somalis in diaspora the homeland considers them still part and parcel of the community, and they have responsibilities to help and assist,” he said.

Ahmed’s visit comes as a federal investigation continues into the return to Somalia of several young Somalis from the Minneapolis area, apparently to join a terrorist jihad back home.

Ahmed, a moderate Islamist, was elected president in January and hopes to unite the country’s feuding factions, but violence has continued.
Ahmed’s visit could help shore up his support at home if he meets with as many Somalis as possible from several tribes, said Mahdi Taakilo, publisher of a Somali newspaper in Columbus.

Somalis left with a favorable impression of Ahmed here will quickly tell their relatives back home about the president and urge their support, Taakilo said. Census data show as many as 100,000 people of Somali ancestry living in the United States in 2007, with the majority, up to 35,000, in and around Minneapolis.

The census figures show as many as 5,000 in and around Washington and as many as 7,000 in Columbus. Local Somali leaders in Columbus estimate far higher numbers. more

Somali Community In Ohio
* 45,000+ Somali live in central Ohio.* 7% of Somalis Immigrants speak English well enough to get a job.* 15% have become citizens of the United States of America* 80% live with their families* Average Family has 7-8 members* 99.9% of Somali are Muslims* 75% are eligible to become U.S. Citizens* The number of Somali’s living in central Ohio will continue to increase in the next 5 years

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