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Somali community fights bad press

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An event this weekend attempts to educate non-Somalis and the press about Minnesotan Somalis.

It's been a rough few months for the Twin Cities' Somali community. First a series of murders and a spotlight on gangs, then the disappearance of several young Somali men allegedly sent to fight with a terrorist group in Somalia. And then, the accusation that a local mosque and a prominent imam were involved in the disappearances.

This weekend, a group of local Somali activists and organizations has pulled together a convention in response to the recent bad press. Here's what the press release says:

The conference is a response to recent events that unfairly implicate the entire community in collective guilt. The event hopes to demystify the Somali community, and educate the community at-large about this often misunderstood population.

Anyone is welcome to attend the event, at the Minneapolis Convention Center, from 3:00 to 8:30 p.m. Speakers will present their points in English between 5:30 and 8:30 p.m.

Among other things, the conference will address raids on Somali businesses, the consequences of sensational news reports on "the missing youth," intimidation by law enforcement agents, and other issues impacting Somali Minnesotans.