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Finding a Home in Faribault: Somali Student Perspectives
Benefits and Challenges of Faribault and Faribault High School
In 2014, Iqra and Hanan were both students in their senior year at Faribault High School. Here they reflect upon their experiences growing up in Faribault and attending Faribault High School as Somali Muslims. Both Iqra and Hanan express fondness for the small-town, "homey" feel of Faribault, but they are disappointed and frustrated that they, and their classmates, have been forced to deal with constant racism and Islamophobia. Iqra's family has lived in Faribault for nine years, and Hanan's for eleven years. Iqra echoes the sentiments of many of Faribault's Muslim students when she explains that the prejudice stems, at least partially, from ignorance. "There's a lot of people that don't know about our ethnicity" and religion. Hanan and Iqra have had to face the consequences of this ignorance for most of their lives.
There's a lot of people that don't know about our ethnicity and they look at us differently, they call us names. And it gets to you sometimes you know. —Iqra
Like many other rural communities in MN where Somali refugees have settled, Faribault is a paradox: Somali Americans often feel targeted and unwelcome in this place that has also been an answer to their prayers, a haven for their families, and a place to call home.
I feel like because we grew up here we shouldn’t you know have to deal with all the racism and the, all the ‘Hey you’re different, therefore you must be less than me’. —Hanan