A Community Forced Into Silence

Members of the Somali Community are afraid to speak publicly about their disapproval of a candidate’s involvement in apparent fraudulent marriages.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN — For several weeks, Alpha News has been covering the latest developments of scandal and controversy that have rocked the campaign of DFL primary winner Ilhan Omar.

The controversy of Omar’s alleged illegal behaviors came to light following an article posted by Scott Johnson of Powerline. Details from the post alleged that Omar was not married to the man she claimed and had married her biological brother in order to bring him to the United States from the United Kingdom.

Through interviews and information gathered through investigating social media accounts, Alpha News has enough evidence to reasonably suggest that the man identified as Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, who Omar legally married in 2009, is in fact Ilhan Omar’s brother.

The latest developments in the controversy have brought troubling new details out of the Cedar-Riverside area.

A credible source from inside the Somali Community has stepped forward and provided Alpha News with information in exchange for anonymity. For the purposes of the article, we will refer to the source as Z.

Z tells Alpha News members of the Somali Community are being silenced through intimidation tactics and threats of physical violence on themselves and their families still back home in Somalia.

Z specifically mentions a man named Gulaad Hashi and identifies him as “campaign muscle”. Z tells Alpha News, “He serves as [Omar’s] muscle in the Somali community and has been leading a witch hunt to out ‘the snitch’ in the community. He has used everything from intimidation to threats to silence community members from speaking out about this, which is why no Somali has publicly come forward to state what we all know to be true.”

Alpha News obtained a screenshot of a Facebook post by Hashi with a picture of the SomaliSpot website. A member of the Somali Community has stepped forward and has translated the information for Alpha News.

Image Credit: Facebook
Image Credit: Facebook

According to the translation, the Facebook post states: “Somalis say those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Who knows who owns this website Somali Spot? Who knows who posts on it? Soon I will expose all and, I promise, if you don’t stop what you’re doing we won’t stop until you have nowhere to hide.”

Alpha News has also obtained a Facebook Live Video posted by Hashi on August 18th, 2016.  At 3:35, a woman Alpha News has identified as Farhio Khalif Jordan, the Associate Chair of the Somali-American Caucus speaks on the video. According to the translation, she states in plain terms that any Somali who opposes Ilhan Omar or talks about her personal life, including her marriage discrepancies, is turning on the Somali community and is an enemy of it.



At 5:00, Z identifies the man speaking as a male member of Ilhan Omar’s Somali campaign. According to the translation received, the man discusses purging the malicious individuals from the community and disposing of them when speaking about Omar’s marriage.

Sadly, this is not the first time that Alpha News has heard about these threats. Sources within the community have come forward and told Alpha News of the fear they face on a daily basis.

As one source described it, “I very much doubt any Somali will publicly come forward and speak about this story not only because of the repercussions they could face here in Minneapolis, but also because of the potential harm doing so could bring to their loved ones in Somalia. There is no rule of law there and the risk posed by blow back from this is too high. It is no coincidence that this was first exposed on an anonymous Somali forum.”

This same source explains that that the potential harm on family members still in Somalia is real as Omar’s “cultural husband” Ahmed Hirsi and Guhaad Hashi (who is currently running for a position as a member of Parliament in Somalia’s Federal Government in the upcoming months) are well-connected in Somalia.

The news of threats and intimidation is also not new to Powerline’s Scott Johnson. Speaking with Johnson, he tells Alpha News about a face-to-face encounter with one of his sources. He states,

I am most confident about the man I met. He was willing to meet with me, and to be a source, but extremely concerned that confidentiality be maintained to protect his identity. He indeed was terrified about what would happen to him if his identity were to be disclosed. I met him. He is Somali. He lives in the community. He gave me his Minnesota id. card. I have his name and address. I believe him.”

There is no word whether authorities in the Twin Cities will investigate this matter. Fox 9 reported in late August that U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger has sent a letter to the Omar campaign, all but stating that they will not investigate the matter.

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Preya Samsundar

Preya Samsundar was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. She graduated from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities this Spring with a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology, with a minor in Strategic Communications. Preya has previously worked on several State Campaign Races.