Minneapolis Council Members Warsame and Frey to Host a Town Hall on Islamophobia

United Against Islamophobia Panel
November 2, 6:30 pm. to 8:00 p.m.
Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church: 2315 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis

Islamophobia is increasingly rising to the front of national attention. Establishing trust and building relationships among people of different faiths and cultures is a priority for Minneapolis Council Members Warsame and Frey. In a time when Islam is the subject of much discussion and controversy, Warsame and Frey hope to enable an ongoing open dialogue, in a safe environment for debate, and promote a more informed understanding of Muslim culture. They want to extend an invitation to all community members to attend to this panel on November 02 at 6:30 pm at the Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church.

As an American who is a Muslim, black and an immigrant, Anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant bigotry undermines the values I strive to live out every day: the American values. It is important to talk about Islamophobia and raise our voices to increase awareness and education. It is my hope that leaders and community members work together to promote inclusion and respect for one another
– Abdi Warsame

As a Jewish man, I love my Muslim sisters and brothers. Now more than ever, appreciation and celebration of our differences must be paramount, and this forum provides a grand opportunity
– Jacob Frey

Confirmed speakers include:

The Honorable Judge LaJune Lange (Ret.)
Lange is a senior fellow with the Roy Wilkins Center for Human Relations and Social Justice. A retired State of Minnesota trial court judge, Lange is an expert on legal and constitutional standards for discrimination in state and federal courts.

Pastor Laurie Eaton
Pastor Eaton was called as pastor to Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Minneapolis in 2009. She is an active leader in ISAIAH, a coalition of approximately 100 congregations committed to living out faith values in the public realm, seeking racial and economic equity in our state.

Imam Asad Zaman
Imam Asad Zaman is a distinguished leader in the education and non-profit sectors. He is the Executive Director of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota and a frequent speaker at Islamic conferences and Islam Awareness Weeks.

This event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. Please rsvp to [email protected]



Artist Opportunities

Call for Artists (from NEMAA)

Taste of Northeast

The deadline for vendors has been extended beyond Sept 1st for the Taste of Northeast Marketplace, which will take place on Saturday, September 24, 2016.

The Marketplace will be located outside of the parish center in the parking lot from 11:00 am – 6:00 pm at Saint Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral (1701 – 5th Street NE MPLS 55413). Click here for more details

A Common Thread 2017

A Common Thread annually showcases the exceptional work of Textile Center members. This non-juried exhibition gives every Textile Center member an opportunity to exhibit their recent work in Textile Center galleries. For more info, click on the following link:

A Common Thread 2017: Deadline November 18


Deadline:  Friday, November 18th, 2016 at 5pm

Call for Art – Inspired by Nature

This is an open call for submissions of 2-D and 3-D artworks to create a web-based art donation program for works that will become part of the permanent collection at the Minnesota Veterans Home – Minneapolis (MVH-Mpls). This call is open to artists in Minnesota, or artists with Minnesota roots that work in any and all visual 2-D or 3-D media. Applications can be sent via email or USPS and must be timestamped no later than midnight September 15, 2016. Click on the following link for more information:


Art-in-Ed Artist’s Book Residency Grant

The Art-in-Education Artist’s Book Grant is an eight- to ten-week residency awarded to two emerging artists to create a new artist’s book and teach young people. Postmark Deadline: November 15, 2016. Click here for more details.


Islam in Bottineau Neighborhood

Islam in Bottineau 05-24-16 croppedOn May 24 at East Side Neighborhood Services, Dr. Hamdy El-Sawaf and Jaylani Hussein spoke and answered questions at the “Islam in Bottineau” forum sponsored by Bottineau Neighborhood Association.

Dr. El-Sawaf is a local psychoanalyst, University of Minnesota professor and Imam at Masjid Al-Iman Islamic community center in Sheridan Neighborhood. Jaylani Hussein is executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations-Minnesota (CAIR-MN).

At the forum, Dr. El-Sawaf presented a short primer on Islam, followed by a 60 minute question and answer session. Below is a transcript of the Q&A session:

Q 1: If the Koran gives clear instructions, [how is it] that so many people can distort those teachings, i.e. why do you think young people–even in our community–become radicalized?

A1: Many profess to be believers in Islam yet but they fail to act upon the actual teaching of Islam. A2: Youth are especially susceptible to predators. For instance, there are sexual predators that target youth, there are religious predators as well, and they exploit youth and deceive them.

Q 2: How does one acquire the book (Qur’an) with English translation?

A1: CAIR has English translations to order for free on their website called “Share the Qur’an campaign” but you must pay shipping and handling. A2: A copy of the Qur’an in English was given to the Bottineau Neighborhood with the advice that the Qur’an is poetry written in Arabic and the meanings are somewhat lost or distorted in English just like French poetry when translated into English loses some of the meaning.

Q 3: Why do some (Muslim) people not shake hands?

A1: Some scholars teach that it is totally forbidden to touch hands. Muslims will put their hand to their chest to indicate that handshakes are not allowed. Also eye contact in the Muslim culture can be offensive so if a Muslim person is not making eye contact that does not mean they are not listening or being disrespectful. Eye contact varies from culture to culture. A2: Let the Muslim lead the introduction exchange and you will know if a handshake is welcome.

Q 4: What is the best way to show support and camaraderie, say hello to neighbors who are still strangers to us?

A1: The Minnesota Council of Churches has a sign for people to order that says: “To Our Muslim Neighbors  BLESSED RAMADAN blessedramadan.org” A2: Also you can order a sign from CAIR that says: “We Stand with our Muslim Neighbors.”

Q 5: Do you have any ideas about how to reach out to the Somali community in our neighborhood and work together with them to improve our community?

A1: This is a newer community to Minneapolis and more transient. Most of the households are woman led. It is an oral society so you need to have conversations as written material will be ignored. Go to the Halal store on 19th and University Ave NE and stand outside and make contact with the women who go in and out of the store. See if you can find a younger woman to bridge your contacts with the older women; that would be best.  [Note: This has already been done by Bottineau volunteers and staff, resulting in a long list of phone numbers of many women in the Somali community. Many volunteers have worked with Somali youth in a reading program. For the past 2 years, there has been a co-sponsored National Night Out block party with the women and their children.]

Q 6: Why do they not have pets/touch dogs?

A1: In Somalia, when a dog runs at you it means it is rabid so there is great fear of dogs that run up to a person.  In the U.S. dogs run up to people and are not rabid but the reaction is the same. Some Somali families owned dogs in Somalia; dogs were kept outside of the home and dogs are not allowed to lick people in Somalia. [One of the speakers shared a story of a family dog in Somali protecting him as a toddler.]

Q 7: Is it disrespectful to say “salaam alleykum” (Peace of God be with you) or is that a religious sentiment only?

A1: Anytime you greet someone in their own language they will be happy.  It would be wonderful.

Q 8: I am having my Somali neighbors over for dinner. What should I serve?

A1: No pork or pork products.

Q 8A: How about milk and cheese.

A2: Yes, definitely those are good things to serve.

Q 8B: Does it have to be Halal meat.

A3: It depends on the individual. Some are very strict and the meat should come from a Halal grocery but others are fine with a regular grocery store product.

Q 9: Why do young girls wear headscarves?

A1: When a girl reaches puberty she is telling men, “I am not for everyone, I am for the one who will pick me out of the millions of women.” It is an honor to wear the scarf. It is beautiful to show this modesty and respect.  But not only the scarf is worn; the whole body is required to be dressed modestly. Muslim cultures around the world have differing definitions of “modest dress” but tight jeans with a head scarf are not modest.  The term for this scarf and dress is Hajib.

Q 10: How can we help the (Muslim) community move from renters to homeowners?

A1: Islam does not allow interest to be charged on loans as all interest is considered usury.  Some scholars in Islamic law have determined it is okay to use U.S. banks to buy a house as long as the Muslim owns the house, not the bank, and therefore monthly payments can be made. It costs more to make this arrangement than a conventional loan non-Muslims can use.  There is also an Islamic Finance group in Europe that will finance houses for Muslims in the U.S.  This group does not break Islamic law.

Transit for Livable Communities (TLC) Member Meetup






TLC Meetup in Minneapolis
Wednesday, April 20, 5-7 PM
Dangerous Man Brewing
1300 NE 2nd Street

Join Transit for Livable Communities (TLC) on Wednesday, April 20, for a happy hour gathering in Minneapolis. Come meet their new executive director Jessica Treat and connect with other staff and advocates. They’ll share a bit about their current work—at the legislature and beyond—but the main focus is on conversation with local members interested in transit, bicycling, and walking. Light food is on TLC.

All are welcome, but RSVPs are much appreciated.

RSVP here: http://www.tlcminnesota.org/calendar/

How to get to the meetup:

TLC’s event location at Dangerous Man Brewing is served by Metro Transit bus routes 11 and 30. Bike parking is available. The 5th Street Bicycle Boulevard and other bike routes are nearby. Find Nice Ride bike-sharing stations about three blocks away at University & 12th and at Broadway & Marshall.

Questions? Contact Hilary Reeves, Member Engagement Director, at [email protected] or 651-789-1415.


Apply to be on the Minneapolis Superintendent Selection Committee

MINNEAPOLIS – At a special business meeting on March 15, the Minneapolis Board of Education finalized an updated search process for hiring the next Superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS). As part of that process, qualified candidates will be screened by a Superintendent Selection Committee. Today, the application to be on the committee was posted.

The selection committee will be comprised of 11 individuals: six community members — including one student community member — three Board members, the Board’s Student Representative and community engagement facilitator Radious Y. Guess. Board Director Nelson Inz will chair the committee. At its March 22 meeting, the Board will hear how selection committee applications will be reviewed and put forward for Board approval.

Anyone may apply for one of the six community member positions, and all applications must be received by 4 p.m. on Friday, April 1.

Visit bit.ly/1o2Dbvh to complete the selection committee application. Paper applications will be available at all school sites and the Davis Service Center (1250 W. Broadway Ave.). Stay up to date and learn more about the Superintendent search process at board.mpls.k12.mn.us/super-search.

BNA News and Updates

Attn: Bottineau Neighborhood

On February 9, 2016, the Board of Directors for Bottineau Neighborhood Association (BNA) voted to move $2062.41 of program income funds from the NRP II housing loan program administered by the Center for Energy and Environment (CEE) to the Environmental Contract of Eastside Environmental Quality of Life (EEQL) for studies and research–Contract C-26748.

If you have questions please send an email to [email protected] or call 612-367-7262 and leave a message. We will get back to you promptly.

MPRB: Downtown Parks Master Plan

Part II of Downtown Service Area Master Plan kicks off Feb. 25

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MRPB) would like to thank everyone who took the time to review and weigh in on initial park concepts created for the Downtown Service Area Master Plan, which will provide a cohesive, long-term vision for every park property in Downtown Minneapolis.

Part I of the plan wrapped up Jan. 28, now please join us for Part II on Thursday, Feb. 25, 6:30-8:30 pm in the Board Room at MPRB headquarters, 2117 West River Road N. The agenda includes a review of the most recent draft plans for parks in the downtown area.

The Steering Committee invites the public to attend its meetings and values input from all interested park users. An opportunity for public comment will be provided.

Date: Feb. 25, 2016
Time: 6:30-8:30 pm
Location: MPRB Board Room
Address: 2117 West River Road N.

This project is part of a joint effort between the MPRB and the City of Minneapolis to improve parks and public spaces downtown. The cooperative work done on the Downtown Service Area Master Plan (MPRB) and the Downtown Public Realm Framework (CPED) is known collectively as Pathways To Places: Shaping Downtown Together.

Learn more at the Downtown Service Area Master Plan project page.

To learn more about this project and others, visit www.minneapolisparks.org/planning.

Project Manager

Jennifer Ringold
Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board
Phone: 612-230-6464
Email:[email protected]

Meeting accommodations

Cindy Anderson
Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board
Phone: 612-230-6472
Email: [email protected]
Minnesota Relay System: 711

Language interpretation

Español: 612-230-6573 | [email protected]
Soomaali: 612-230-6574 | [email protected]

MPRB: 2016 referendum to close neighborhood park funding gap

At its Jan. 20 meeting, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) of Commissioners approved language for a 2016 ballot measure that will ask Minneapolis residents for a property tax levy to help maintain, rehabilitate and invest in its chronically underfunded network of 160 neighborhood parks. After a year of public meetings about the current condition and maintenance service level of  neighborhood parks in the city, Commissioners voted to approve MPRB Superintendent Jayne Miller’s final recommendations for the Closing the Gap: Investing in Neighborhood Parks (Closing the Gap)initiative.

Resolution 2016-112, passed Wednesday night by Commissioners, includes ballot language for a November 2016 referendum and elements of an agreement with the Minneapolis City Council to address sustained current funding. Superintendent Miller also provided an overarching implementation plan for a referendum at the direction of Commissioners. If approved by the residents of Minneapolis, the referendum will generate the additional resources needed to provide a long-term strategy to fund annual maintenance, repair and capital investments for neighborhood parks in Minneapolis, as long as other current funding sources are sustained.

The maximum annual amount of the proposed tax levy increase is limited to .0388 percent of the estimated market value by the city per year. It would begin in 2018 and continue to be collected for the next 20 years. If the levy had been in place in 2016, it would have generated approximately $15 million and added $65.68 to the property tax bill of an owner of a home valued at $190,000.

All expenditures related to the levy would be subject to full public examination. A one-page fact sheet gives an overview of how funding generated by the levy would be spent in the first five years; Superintendent Miller will provide specifics of the 2018-2022 implementation plan in April.

The Superintendent’s presentation materials and numerous other resources regarding Closing the Gap are available at www.minneapolisparks.org/closingthegap under the “Key Documents” section.


Closing the Gap: Investing in Neighborhood Parks is an initiative of the Superintendent and Commissioners that shared information with Minneapolis residents and partners about the current condition and service level of neighborhood parks.  Closing the Gap looked at the impacts of the age of the system and deferred maintenance – or delayed regular upkeep past the point of repair – has had on the 160 neighborhood parks in Minneapolis.

The Closing the Gap initiative gathered information from Minneapolis residents and partners about investment priorities for operation, maintenance and replacement of existing neighborhood park assets. Since May 2015, a spectrum of community engagement methods and communications tools were used to share and collect information for the Closing the Gap initiative.

Minneapolis’ neighborhood parks have the greatest number of physical assets that require greater resources to operate, maintain and replace. To sustain the current level of physical assets in the park system the MPRB needs $14.3 million plus inflation each year to meet capital investment needs. The MPRB currently has $4-5 million per year to invest in these assets. Based on 2015 costs, the annual capital gap is $9.3 million plus inflation. The neighborhood parks also require annual investments to operate them to industry standards for activities such as mowing, building maintenance, tree pruning and roof and path repairs. Based on 2015 costs, the operational gap is a minimum of $3 million plus inflation per year.

On Oct. 21, 2015, the Superintendent provided three reports to the Board of Commissioners:

  • “Investing in Neighborhood Parks – Final Report” completed by MPRB staff
  • “Public and Private Funding Strategies for Neighborhood Parks” completed by the City Parks Alliance
  • “Conservation Finance Feasibility Study – Minneapolis, Minnesota” completed by The Trust for Public Land.

The Board of Commissioners directed the Superintendent to work on a possible referendum to address neighborhood park funding challenges following discussion of the reports presented on Oct. 21.

Closing the Gap: Investing in our Neighborhood Parks

An abundance of information on the state of Minneapolis’ neighborhood parks is available at http://www.minneapolisparks.org/closingthegap:

  • “Park Profiles” detailing where investments have been made and where funding gaps are in every neighborhood park in the city. (Under “Background” tab)
  • Two 2015 budget fact sheets showing where MPRB’s budget comes from and what it supports.
  • A neighborhood parks fact sheet explaining how the funding gap was created and what MPRB is doing already to help close it.
  • An FAQ with concise answers to 27 questions commonly asked during 2015 Closing the Gap meetings.

To stay informed on Closing the Gap please visit http://www.minneapolisparks.org/closingthegap and sign up for email updates.