Aar Maanta, a Somali Muslim and his band the Urban Nomads, were supposed to kick off a month-long residency of performances and workshops set up through the Cedar Cultural Center in Minnesota. But Trump Administration-ordered extreme vetting measures required for U.S. Visa requests from Somalia have forced this Somali musician to cancel all of his Minnesota shows.
City Pages Instead, the leader of one of the only touring bands in the world that plays live Somali music is home in London and the residency is cancelled. Visa delays brought months of planning to a disappointing halt.
The other four musicians in the band are Italian, French, Nepalese/Scottish and British/Caribbean, and all received their visas with no trouble. Only Aar Maanta — the band’s sole Somali and Muslim member — was asked to submit more information.
Aar Maanta’s passport was held by the U.S. consulate and his application was placed under “additional administrative processing.” Despite efforts to change this status (including a request from MUSLIM Congressman Keith Ellison’s office), Aar Maanta could not travel.
“It’s hard not to read between the lines,” Alana Horton, marketing and communications manager at the Cedar, says of the consulate’s actions. Legal obstacles for some touring international artists are increasingly common, creating an environment of uncertainty for presenters and audiences alike. “It’s heartbreaking,” she said. “He brings a really unique voice.” (Oh, Boo Hoo)
Aar Maanta’s visit to Minnesota would have brought hope and positivity to the Somali and larger communities here, at a time when we all really need it.” (No, what we need is for the Somali community to disappear)
Aar Maanta is shocked at being singled out, especially given this prior relationship. “In my last Minneapolis show in 2015 we sold out the Cedar with Somali community members. (It’s 2017, and Obama is gone now) “Not having international artists could also lead to segregation of communities.” (You mean unlike that segregated communities that Muslims have already created for themselves in every Western country?)
And the musicians in Aar Maanta’s band have lost work due to the consulate’s actions. “Some of us also have families to provide for,” bass player Ruth Goller said in a written statement. “There is a lot of collateral damage around a decision like this.” (Good, then go perform in Europe)
Somali Muslims claim to like living in America, but when you question them further, you discover that a majority of them really don’t like our basic freedoms and would prefer that America be ruled by sharia law.