Controversy Over Somali Muslim Immigrant Communities in Small N.E. Town

October 14, 2002

Source: The Washington Post

On October 14, 2002 The Washington Post reported that "Lewiston, Maine mayor, Laurier T. Raymond, has asked the Somali elders [leaders of the Somali Muslim immigrant community] to put a stop to... immigration. In a public letter earlier this month, Raymond warned of the toll taken by so many immigrants on the city's finances and cultural fabric, and asked the elders to help stanch the flow. 'This large number of new arrivals cannot continue without negative results for all,' Raymond wrote. 'I am well aware of the legal right of a U.S. citizen to move anywhere . . . but it is time for the Somali community to exercise discipline... Please pass the word,' he concluded. 'We have been overwhelmed... our city is maxed out financially, physically and emotionally'... Yesterday, about 250 people marched five blocks from a Methodist church to the mosque where many Somalis worship to show solidarity with the newcomers. Old-time residents outnumbered the Somali demonstrators 3 to 1 by one estimate."