Community gathers to welcome Somali prime minister to Minnesota

Somali prime minister in Minnesota

Somali prime minister in Minnesota

The Minnesota Somali community gathered in Bloomington on Sunday night to welcome a sitting prime minister of Somalia to the state.

On Sunday afternoon, Somali Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre met with Gov. Tim Walz and other elected officials before traveling to Bloomington to address the masses.

“Everybody’s excited. People are coming in early so that’s a good sign,” said Sadia Omar, who was attending Sunday’s event.

The Somali community was eager to fill the empty seats to welcome Barre to Minnesota.

“It’s a very busy day. It’s a very exciting day,” said Omar Ahmed, event organizer.

This is the first time a sitting prime minister of Somalia has visited Minnesota, making it a historic day.

The event kicked off at the Doubletree Hotel in Bloomington with live music and anticipation.

“We want to hear what’s going on back home,” Ahmed said.

Barre is expected to bring the reality of Somalia to the doorstep of Minnesota.

The prime minister will address his country’s ongoing battles with corruption, while also diving into the latest on the terror group Al-Shahab that’s causing chaos for Somalis.

“Painful, terrifying, horrific, and it’s painful to hear when you sleep at night. You don’t know what will happen. You wake up sad every day,” Ahmed said.

Barre also plans to touch on the crucial role of the Somali diaspora at challenging times like these.

In the state with the largest Somali population in the country, attendees said having the prime minister in Minnesota brings them closer to home.

“I’m really honored that I’m part of this. I left Somalia when I was 5 years old. I don’t have much of memories, but I’m really happy,” Omar said.

This is not the first time a Somali official has made the trip to Minnesota.

The prime minister’s visit comes less than a year after Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud visited the state.