In 2013, November 8-10 African Sky organized an International Conference on Promoting Peace and Preventing Youth radicalization in Utrecht and Amersfoort.
Special guest speakers from the USA at this conference:
Hodan Hassan from Minnesota, social worker and Somali community activist. ‘Minnesota has largest Somali community in Diaspora, 124000 people, and four community clinics, own stores, malls, there are Somali Millionaires, they are part of every field of work through hardship and commitment. They have integrated well, being part of the American Dream. First Minnesotan, then Somalian.’
Abdikheyr Soofe from Columbus, works for the city, engages communities, facilitates dialog, own TV channel, African outreach coordinator, advocate for the African community.
Mohammed Hassan from Minnesota works for the county government, support cities, engaged in political policy. He stresses integration through policy levels.
They showed us the documentary Broken Dreams (Somalia, USA, 2011) by Fathia Absie about the Somali community in Minnesota and the exodus of Somali youth to take part in jihad and be part of Al Shabaab. This film portrays the agony of a Somali mother whose son joined Al –Shabaab and died as result.
After two days of intensive exchange of experiences and exchange of views during the International Conference the conclusions and recommendations include:
On the role of parents:
– Parents should be more alert to the development of their child’s and follow every step of their life simply by talking with them at the table during dinner.
– Parents need to gather more information on propaganda about radicalization (by using the internet and social media) and should learn more about what their children are doing and thinking. An informed parent can protect his/her child.
On the role of the community (leaders):
– The Somali communities in every country should fight together against these humankind problems and community leaders should get all support needed, starting from you and your municipal administration, followed by support of national government administration.
– Highly educated Somali -Dutch Youth, these days a rapidly increasing group, and every other capable person in the Somali-Dutch community should participate and take initiatives to build more understanding between their communities and the governmental institutes of justice, security (e.g. police), social, economic, health etc.
– Somali imams in the Netherlands should have better role in their community building Activities to promote peace and prevent radicalization.
As follow-up activity in 2015 African Sky is developing a project with the objective to organize trainings for parents and capacity building for Somali Diaspora communities.
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