A plan to create what could become the first recreation center in the country designed to comply with Muslim religious beliefs is gaining steam in the Twin Cities.
The proposal for a $48 million Muslim Youth and Recreation Center comes from Somali Youth Action of Minnesota, a new nonprofit organization working to reduce MUSLIM youth violence. Early sketches of the project reveal separate swimming pools for men and women, separate exercise rooms, an indoor soccer field and a large multi-purpose room for weddings and other events.
“We’re going to go after it … and we’re going to hope that the local community and donors and foundations respond,” said Matthew Palombo, secretary of Somali Youth Action (SYA). “If they do, then it will move forward.”
Creating a safe place for Somali youth to meet has been at the forefront of community discussions on preventing youth violence. A 2007 report on Somali youth violence commissioned by the city of Minneapolis noted a lack of youth programs available, and called for a drop-in center that would be culturally sensitive to Muslims. (Too damn bad, let them go to American centers. Better yet, go back to Somalia)
Last year, seven Somalis under 30 were slain over a 10-month period. (Who cares?) That, coupled with the deaths in Somalia of four local Somali men believed to have been recruited by Muslim extremists, has increased the community desire for youth programs and services.
While his group sees the proposed Muslim youth and recreation center as a tool to combat violence, they also say it will give Muslim women better access to recreation facilities they may otherwise avoid because of modesty concerns. (Then get out of this country if you don’t like it. We don’t want you here)
In recent years, there have been several cases of Muslims seeking women-only hours at gyms and swimming pools. STAR TRIBUNE