cities of somalia

Meet Minnesota’s first Somali woman police officer

The Twin Cities has the largest Somali community outside of Somalia, and one Somali woman is one of the latest to be sworn in to a metro area police department.

Kadra Mohammed is one of the first 12 new Metro Transit Police Officers. “I’m excited, definitely excited.” She is the first sworn in female Somali officer in Minnesota and quite possibly the country. “It’s just a step forward, I plan on making more steps forward in my career, so I’m very excited for that.”

Fox 9 first met Kadra over a year ago when St. Paul police hired her to be a community service officer. She was also the second officer in the country to wear a special hijab with her uniform.

Now, she will have a badge and a gun, while she rides Metro Transit buses and trains.

“She represents that large population of Somali women who use transit. I hope when they see her on the train on the bus they feel more comfortable.” Said Chief John Harrington

The first Somali sergeant in the US, Waheid Siraach, who is currently on a leave of absence to train national police back in Somali, awarded Mohammed her badge. “To have first Somali female officer in Minnesota, it’s an historic day for the people of Minnesota and the Somali community.”

SOMALIA. Baidoa. October 14, 2015. Abdirashid Abdullahi Mohamed, the governor of the Bay region, patrols the area around the former presidential palace, now completely destroyed by the war. Baidoa is one of the most important cities in Somalia. In the nineties is was ravaged by the famine. Since 2012, it has been liberated from Al-Shabaab’s control by the AMISON. It remains one of the most targeted places by terrorist attacks in Somalia.

Photograph: Marco Gualazzini/Contrasto


Picturing the New Americans 

Minneapolis, Minnesota, is home to roughly 30,000 people of Somali origin. Many of them are refugees, having fled famine and decades of war—a situation not dissimilar to that of today’s Syrian refugees. For the past year, photographer Arthur Nazaryan documented this enclave of new Americans to show that Somalis, and migrants in general, could be more than “perpetrators or victims of conflict." 

The Somalis who live in Minneapolis are much like regular Minnesotans —barbecuing, riding speedboats, going to the playground, and hosting dinner parties. According to Nazaryan, they are also avid Snapchatters, posting selfies of their every move. “I was kind of surprised, given how conservative the culture can be, to see the younger generation going out, dating, and using social media,” Nazaryan said. “In Somali culture, it’s really important to be connected and communicate with each other.”