She states, “Even if the person is COVID-19 positive, he or she believes that it is normal flu and they don’t self-isolate. “But it’s up to the people, whether they follow or not. Another possible explanation is Ethnic benign neutropenia - the most common form of neutropenia worldwide and very common among East African populations. 22-year-old, Somali Swedish Mustaf Salah from the small town of Falköping, Sweden lists stubborn disregard, large families living in close quarters and frequent social gatherings as the problems to which he attributes the high COVID-19 death rate in the Swedish Somali community: “First, we refused to follow the guidelines and the awareness to remain home and not to meet with a large number of people in restaurants, community centers, mosques, barbershops. Here it’s a free country you know.”, Large Families, Overcrowding, Economic Factors and a Culture of Social Gathering. According to Statistics Denmark, as of 2017, there are a total 21,204 persons of Somali origin living in Denmark.Of those individuals, 11,832 are Somalia-born immigrants and 9,372 are descendants of Somalia-born persons. This case example in Sweden teaches an important lesson that diaspora and religious communities may need special attention in times of pandemics. If you are not careful COVID-19 will not differentiate between anyone based on their religion.”. Looking back, in the year of 1960, Somalia had a population of 2.8 million people. In two different studies, the great majority of Swedish women of Somali origin had very low levels of S-25(OH)-D (, There is evidence that vitamin D is involved in our defence against respiratory tract infections. Among the first 15 deaths due to covid-19 in Stockholm County, six were reported, by the Swedish-Somali medical society, to be of Somali origin (March 24). As in early 2020, the world is…, When the COVID-19 pandemic reached the United States last spring, a Georgia-based medical equipment packaging company worked to get personal…, The awards recognize those who devote their lives to protecting our people, our resources, our way of life.…. Likewise, the mosques and restaurants are not yet closed. A 2000 report by the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR) records 5,200 Somali refugees being granted asylum in the USA. Likewise, as the death-toll mounts, using multiple channels of communication, even Facebook and other social media platforms, to spread this news among the various age groups in the community, in their own language, can help a community that is very socially oriented, but also cherishes their elderly enough to refrain from social gathering for a time and to use hand-washing, masks and social distancing to better protect the vulnerable among them. To this, Othman asks if new immigrants are not required to learn Swedish upon arrival, if language incompetence is a major factor, and if men and women have the same difficulties. Moreover, some note that elders are nearly always cared for at home and that many Somalis over the age of 50 have significant pre-existing health conditions including diabetes and high blood pressure. mats.humble@oru.se; susanne.bejerot@oru.se. The number of Somali refugees displaced by ongoing conflict continues to rise. Most Somalis in Denmark emigrated from Somalia following the start of the Somali Civil War (1986-), in the period between 1995 and 2000. Kalliokoski P, Bergqvist Y, Löfvander M. Physical performance and 25-hydroxyvitamin D: a cross-sectional study of pregnant Swedish and Somali immigrant women and new mothers. 7 of 10 Somalis had an income less than 5000 SEK per month (1 euro ~ 10 SEK). Does this prove social distancing save lives? 7. They kill time there. She has interviewed over 700 terrorists, their family members and supporters in various parts of the world including in Western Europe, the Balkans, Central Asia, the Former Soviet Union and the Middle East. [6] Similarly, ultra-Orthodox Haredim in Israel have disregarded quarantine orders broadcast largely through the secular media, with leaders encouraging the community to continue attending large gatherings such as weddings and funerals. [8], Extremist Muslim religious leaders around the world have also advised their followers to continue going on religious pilgrimages and to ignore health warnings from the authorities, stating that COVID-19 is a punishment for the unbelievers and will not touch Muslims. Several other media, including Expressen, also produced Arabic and Somali material to accommodate non-Swedish readers. She is a sought after counterterrorism expert and has consulted to NATO, OSCE, the EU Commission and EU Parliament, European and other foreign governments and to the U.S. Senate & House, Departments of State, Defense, Justice, Homeland Security, Health & Human Services, CIA, and FBI and appeared on CNN, BBC, NPR, Fox News, MSNBC, CTV, and in Time, The New York Times, The Washington Post, London Times and many other publications. In the past three years, she has interviewed  239 ISIS defectors, returnees and prisoners  as well as 16 al Shabaab cadres and their family members (n=25) as well as ideologues (n=2), studying their trajectories into and out of terrorism, their experiences inside ISIS (and al Shabaab), as well as developing the Breaking the ISIS Brand Counter Narrative Project materials from these interviews which includes over 175 short counter narrative videos of terrorists denouncing their groups as un-Islamic, corrupt and brutal which have been used in over 125 Facebook campaigns globally. Many in these communities are more likely to live in crowded, multigeneration households and are unable to work remotely. Considering that only 0.84% of the Stockholm County population was born in Somalia (n=8,178 by … This disease will only kill non-believers.’ But they are wrong. Othman Mahamud, B.S. Can Case of Samantha Elhassani Be a Positive Example for Repatriation of Other ISIS Wives? doi: 10.1128/JVI.00127-20. There are reports from all over the world of fanatical religious preachers representing fringe elements of most of the major faiths telling their communities to continue coming to worship, even to take religious pilgrimages, that God will not allow them to fall ill. A Christian preacher of a mega-church in the United States, for instance, was arrested after holding large church services repeatedly during the U.S. In 2007, she was responsible for designing the psychological and Islamic challenge aspects of the Detainee Rehabilitation Program in Iraq to be applied to 20,000 + detainees and 800 juveniles. Everywhere Somalis have that problem.”. Of the first 15 people to die of coronavirus in and around Stockholm, six were of Somali heritage ― a group that makes up less than 1% of the area’s population. They also listen to wrong information with extremist ideas from religion scholars. Anne Speckhard, Ph.D., is Director of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE) and serves as an Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. See also:Â,  (March 25, 2020) More Somalis are dying of corona virus in Sweden than any other group.Â, (March 24, 2020). He has worked at the AMNI Centre providing analysis and advice on issues pertaining to security and stability in Somali and the surrounding region as well as a security consultant to the Puntland Ministry of Security.  Othman also has worked as a Public Relations Officer for the Australian Federal Police in community engagement to prevent and recognize radicalization in the Somali Australian community.  He is fluent in English, Arabic and Somali. [1] Normally, this diaspora group fades into the background, but now, suddenly, a chilling new statistic brings them to the fore, as 40 percent of the reported COVID-19 … The largest share of that group … Therefore, the International Center for Violent Extremism’s [ICSVE] Junior Research Fellow, Othman A. Mahamud, a Somali who lives in Australia, conducted an Internet research foray into the Somali Facebook global diaspora and Somali communities to explore the possible explanations for this disturbing phenomenon. Demeke T, Osmancevic A, Gillstedt M, Krogstad AL, Angesjö E, et al. Census numbers put the state's Somali's population at about 40,000, but community activists have said it's higher. pii: e001663. Meet the Sweden-based Somali bandy team, a story of integration. Life in the Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby seen through the eyes of a mother fighting to improve life for its residents. dark-skinned adults with low sun-exposure and/or individuals with risk factors for respiratory tract infections. "When [coronavirus] spread to Sweden, there was not so much information in Somali, and many continued living as usual," Jihan Mohamed , a board member of the Swedish Somali Medical association, told the publication. Martineau AR, Jolliffe DA, Hooper RL, Greenberg L, Aloia JF, et al. The result has been the rise of the Sweden Democrats, a party whose bland name conceals a Nazi past. BMJ. [9] For instance during March when Shia visit shrines in Iraq, controversial Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr opposed closing the shrines, and Sheikh Ali al-Samawi promised believers they would not be infected by the virus under any circumstances while encouraging them to attend. Socio-economic factors, e.g. This page provides - Somalia Population - actual values, historical data, forecast, chart, statistics, economic calendar and news. Last month, data from Sweden’s Public Health Agency confirmed that Somali Swedes made up almost 5 percent of the country's COVID-19 cases, yet represented less than 1 percent of its 10 million people. The increased rate of children with autism in the Somali population living in Stockholm has attracted attention from the National Board of Health and Welfare in Sweden. The top five countries of birth among African immigrants living in Sweden in 2019 were Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Morocco, and Egypt. in Psychology with a Specialization in Clinical Psychology from UC San Diego. Likewise, they can gain better traction by educating and motivating religious influencers to speak up against extremists who wrongfully preach that Muslims (and other “true believers” in the cases of other religious groups) will not be harmed by COVID-19. She is a sought after counterterrorism expert and has consulted to NATO, OSCE, the EU Commission and EU Parliament, European and other foreign governments and to the U.S. Senate & House, Departments of State, Defense, Justice, Homeland Security, Health & Human Services, CIA, and FBI and appeared on CNN, BBC, NPR, Fox News, MSNBC, CTV, and in Time, The New York Times, The Washington Post, London Times and many other publications. Kenya hosts the largest number of Somali refugees (more than 313,000 as of April 2017), most of concentrated in the Dadaab Refugee Complex, in Garissa County near the Somali border. doi: 10.1136/bmj.m1101. Among the first 15 deaths due to covid-19 in Stockholm County, six were reported, by the Swedish-Somali medical society, to be of Somali origin (March 24). Her publications are found here: https://georgetown.academia.edu/AnneSpeckhardWebsite: and on the ICSVE website http://www.icsve.org This small number has continued to grow, however. Comorbidity and health-related quality of life in Somali women living in Sweden. Xu J, Yang J, Chen J, Luo Q, Zhang Q, Zhang H. Vitamin D alleviates lipopolysaccharide‑induced acute lung injury via regulation of the renin‑angiotensin system. Mol Med Rep. 2017;16:7432-8. doi: 10.3892/mmr.2017.7546. She has also been training key stakeholders in law enforcement, intelligence, educators, and other countering violent extremism professionals on the use of counter-narrative messaging materials produced by ICSVE both locally and internationally as well as studying the use of children as violent actors by groups such as ISIS and consulting with governments on issues of repatriation and rehabilitation. When the COVID-19 pandemic reached the United States last spring, The vaccine for COVID-19 might be the beginning of the end of, Muniz was one of the original TSA officers at Newark who joined, In Louisville on January 5, CBP halted a shipment from Vietnam that, The U.K. announced on January 8 that all passengers arriving from all, Known for its more relaxed response to COVID-19, Sweden has now updated, Personal communication with the authors’ sources from a medical worker in Stockholm, Sweden. Every single weekend there is a meeting or wedding going on and sometimes people are not obligated to follow preventative procedures. Second, people who succumb to the flu and pass it on to at-risk groups often happens while a person with symptoms has a family number of 4, 6, 7, up to 12 people in the area. Her research has also been published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Trauma. Across Scandinavia this picture is repeated: Sweden has 57,000 Somalis, the second highest population of Somalis in Europe. Nur also comments about the health situation and lowered immune system in the aged saying, “People are living with three generations in the same house, since using a nursing home is not part of our culture.” Likewise, Nur explains that he has observed a poor diet among many Somalis, possibly contributing to increased susceptibility to the virus, and that Somali culture is very social, that, “If someone only lives by his or herself, Somalis see that as someone who is actually crazy.” He also comments on the issue of the language barrier, “The unknown language and the radio stations in Sweden are not working for them.”, 30-year-old British Somali Deeqa, who lives in London and is the other female Somali to respond in these Facebook discussions, blames ignorance, ill-health in the elders in the community and that Somalis are concentrated and like to gather socially. Mohamed Abdi says, “They encourage people not to hear the infidel statements—guidelines, which they say could lead Muslims astray.” These clerics, also according to Mohamed Abdi, encourage people to doubt all the government advisory measures about hand washing and other methods of prevention. Faduma from Gothenburg, Sweden replies, “They are taught, and it is important that you learn the language, but our Somali people are not as committed as other ethnic groups.” She adds as a caveat, however, “Now many multilingual publications for awareness are available, which will make it easier for everyone to understand health information and guidelines in the future.”. Granlund L, Ramnemark A, Andersson C, Lindkvist M, Fhärm E, Norberg M. Prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and its association with nutrition, travelling and clothing habits in an immigrant population in Northern Sweden. Most of the time that is how they contracted the COVID-19 from each other.”. Sweden accepts more refugees in proportion to size of population than any other nation in the developed world — when it comes to offering shelter, no one does it better. The virus has been reported in the Jarva area of Stockholm, which includes districts Kista-Rinkeby and Tensta, and around 90 percent of the population coming from an immigrant background. A Somali super mum in Sweden. Anne Speckhard, Ph.D., is Director of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE) and serves as an Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. There are currently 40,000 Somali immigrants in Sweden, according to SR, and the Migration Board (Migrationsverket) expects 20,000 more asylum seekers and accompanying family members to arrive in Sweden in the next year, making Somalis … 4. April 3, 2020 Anne Speckhard, Othman Mahamud and Molly Ellenberg. 2003 US Census data shows the Somali population in the USA at 30,000, however, the current population estimates range between 30,000 and 150,000. Where is the Chinese power? All rights reserved. Likewise, 3) the Somali diaspora’s tendency for large multi-generational families living in close quarters in a cold climate where some may wish to escape to cafes, outdoor stoops, mosques or other places to gather, or have to work. quarantine. in Forensic Psychology from The George Washington University and a B.S. doi: 10.1002/pbc.27361. Data from Sweden's Public Health Agency confirmed that Somali Swedes made up almost 5 per cent of the country's COVID-19 cases, yet represented less … In addition, Somalis are not afraid from disease. Other Swedish medical experts estimate 18 percent of the COVID-19 deaths country-wide are from the Somali community. J Virol. ... and around 90 percent of the population coming from an immigrant background. 25-year-old Somali Swedish Abdirahman Sayid, who is university educated, refers to the widespread Islamic belief in God-ordained fate: “In my view, the reason why they did not take the government’s advice was that they intuitively listen to Somali clerics when it comes this intense wide spread of sickness and they say, ‘What is meant to happen to my health, it’s already ordained by Allah.’ But, the Quran never said, ‘Don’t look after yourself.’ They are misinterpreting the Quran.”, Abdirahman goes on to state, “A man we used to pray together with at the mosque called me and told me that the mosque is still open and that the café in the mosque is still working as well!!! In 1990, the United … Vitamin D status is strongly related to low sun exposure and dark skin. As a result, Iraqi doctors found that patients who had COVID-19 responded to their health care workers with threats about their honor, and fled the hospital, refusing to be quarantined. Godlee F. The burning building. 2. In Iraq, doctors reported that some Iraqis who were diagnosed with COVID-19 took it as a social and religious disgrace, mixing the contagious aspects of COVID-19 with former ideas about the sexual spread of AIDs. Competing interests: Most of these issues are likely also active in other Muslim diaspora communities that have not integrated well across Europe and elsewhere, particularly those who may be religiously conservative and have members who follow religious preaching advising them to ignore government health advisories in relation to COVID-19. An uptick of COVID-19 cases was therefore expected in Iraq during the Shia feast s as a result of Iranian pilgrims crossing the border without medical health checks and believers flocking together believing that they cannot be infected while on a religious pilgrimage. In the past three years, she has interviewed ISIS (n=239) defectors, returnees and prisoners as well as al Shabaab cadres (n=16) and their family members (n=25) as well as ideologues (n=2), studying their trajectories into and out of terrorism, their experiences inside ISIS (and al Shabaab), as well as developing the Breaking the ISIS Brand Counter Narrative Project materials from these interviews which includes over 175 short counter narrative videos of terrorists denouncing their groups as un-Islamic, corrupt and brutal which have been used in over 125 Facebook campaigns globally. Social Distancing in Sweden is ignored mostly by the Somali community, the Somali population in Sweden is 70k .7% of the population. Mohamed Abdi also references religious faith, “Somalis pride themselves, and believe if they read some Quranic verses, they can avoid this disease, which is also told to them by the clerics who prevent community integration.” These clerics, according to Mohamed Abdi, encourage separation through business and schooling in Islamic madrasas. Lastly, the quarantine aim was for everyone to stay at home, but Somalis invite each other over to their homes and they play all night play-station games and so forth. Somalis also have a strong tradition for social gathering and a vibrant culture of mosque going; near constant family celebrations, especially weddings where large groups gather; and a strong belief in God. They play cards, and pool, and hands are exchanged. Many people said that this disease is only meant to kill for non-Muslims thus, it cannot affect Muslims. After the Somali death toll reached disproportionate to the percentage number of those living in Sweden, the authorities decided to interpret all useful information into Somali language.”, Abdirahman Sayid explains. BMJ Open. Eur J Nutr. Until today many people believe that myth. According to a meta-analysis, vitamin D supplementation (daily-weekly dosage) prevents acute respiratory tract infections, especially in those with 25(OH)-D below 25 nmol/l (NNT = 4). This is not a people who read and learn about health awareness and who are careful. Somali-Swedes have criticized authorities for not doing enough to support the community during the coronavirus pandemic, national broadcaster SVT has reported. The men who made the missile and made the navy, went to the moon, and reached the medical sciences very advanced levels in the world. In Sweden there is a small diaspora community of Somali immigrants who fled war and poverty who make up just .69 percent of the total population. The aim of the present work therefore was to perform a new prevalence study in the same doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001663. They are not separated from one another because they are a big family unit. This article details the explanations he received in Facebook discussions over the last week of March 2020 when reaching out in Somali on Facebook, asking the Somali global community for their opinions regarding this startling and grim statistic. “Bring any infected person to me and let me kiss them and I’m quite sure that I won’t contract the virus, if he is a true follower of Imam Hussein [the third Shiite Imam and grandson of the Prophet Muhammad], Samawi announced in one of his sermons. “Somalis are unpopular in this country and therefore, are unlikely to receive real health care service. Inside Sweden’s immigrant communities, anecdotal evidence emerged early in the outbreak that suggested that some — particularly those from Somalia and Iraq — were hit harder than others. A fifth camp, Kambioos, was closed in February 2017. 45-year-old Ahmed Farah[3] from Stockholm blames the community for failing to heed health warnings as well as misinformation from religious scholars, “Somalis are stubborn people who do not listen to the messages of health and institutions of health and government institutions. Today it is polling at around 18 percent. In order to cope with the covid-19 epidemic, preventive measures could be administration of vitamin D to high-risk populations, e.g. Why don’t you get rid of the small virus? Swedish Coronavirus deaths increase, with concerns about Somali-Swedes in particularÂ, 13th Coast Guard Vice Commandant Robert Scarborough Dies at Age 97, Over $265 Million Obligated to Partner with U.S. Defense Industrial Base to Combat COVID-19, PTSD in Somali first-generation immigrants, Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr opposed closing the shrines, https://english.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2020/3/25/somalis-are-dying-of-coronavirus-in-sweden, https://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=2054&artikel=7437072, https://www.minnpost.com/community-voices/2017/05/tale-twin-cities-and-somalis-being-trumped/. Palmblad J, Höglund P. Ethnic benign neutropenia: A phenomenon finds an explanation. Molly has presented original research at the International Summit on Violence, Abuse, and Trauma and UC San Diego Research Conferences. In 2005 in Gothenburg, 45% of adult Somalis had zero income from employment, compared to 27% of all born abroad and 10% of those born in Sweden. Cashman KD, Ritz C, Adebayo FA, Dowling KG, Itkonen ST, et al. Wan Y, Shang J, Graham R, Baric RS, Li F. Receptor recognition by the novel coronavirus from Wuhan: an analysis based on decade-long structural studies of SARS Coronavirus. Eur J Clin In Editor’s choice of 19 March Fiona Godlee writes, “With the covid-19 pandemic we have entered extraordinary times, when some things are known but many more are not and where decisions must be made nonetheless.”[1] We fully agree. [7] In a randomised trial on individuals with frequent respiratory tract infections, treatment with cholecalciferol 4000 IE/day reduced the need for antibiotic treatment. On the other hand, Somalis visit each other and share the pain with the sufferer so they avoid the patient feeling discriminated against or to feel that they are not to blame later on.”. University educated, 25-year-old Swedish Somali Abdirahman Sayid states, “I think the best way to spread the health messages and the best ways that everyone remains protected is that public health agencies spread the information through local Somali radio and social media.” He goes on to explain that there are also gender differences in who becomes most at risk from either ignorance or wilful disregard of health messages. Often Somalis are gathering socially. In fact, a total of 51,405 people died in Sweden between January and June, the largest number of deaths in those months since 1869 (when 55,431 people died, although Sweden's population was much smaller at the time). He took no advice, and the health prevention measures of the restaurants are also still the same; no precautions at all. People cannot be forced. [1] Normally, this diaspora group fades into the background, but now, suddenly, a chilling new statistic brings them to the fore, as 40 percent of the reported COVID-19 related deaths occurring in Stockholm involve the Somali diaspora communities. [4] 40-year-old Ibrahim Guled who lives in Stockholm, Sweden also asserts, “Somalis in Sweden are the least educated community among the Somali diaspora in the world, so a lack of low awareness and self-correction happened to them.”[5] In addition to that, Ibrahim Guled states. The party earned only 3 percent support in 2010. As the coronavirus spreads in Sweden, there are concerns that working class areas of the country will be the hardest hit. The Board has declared ASD in the Somali population in Sweden a prioritized area of research. 2019; 58:2281-91. doi: 10.1007/s00394-018-1775-1. For COVID-19 researchers, the new year brings a strong sense. Of course, this is can have dire results if those transmitting the illness do not take responsibility for infecting others in their communities. ... including Somali and Arabic due to the deaths in Sweden. "Many live in crammed quarters there. 1. To draw comparisons between the Somali experience in Minnesota and Sweden, it is first necessary to present some preliminary population data. cramped housing accommodation, high rates of smoking and poor understanding of the Swedish language (which in turn leads to poor understanding of health information on covid-19 provided by the authorities) may explain the situation. Most of those people who got affected by COVID-19 mostly were unemployed and are now trapped in the queue of death.”, 39-year-old Samatar Hassan, a Somali living in Ethiopia, agrees, stating, “I think the biggest issue is that they don’t realize the seriousness of this illness and that is why they ignored it.”, While stubborn unwillingness to heed health advice is certainly cause for concern, not being informed and aware of health advice is also consequential. She regularly speaks and publishes on the topics of the psychology of radicalization and terrorism and is the author of several books, including Talking to Terrorists, Bride of ISIS, Undercover Jihadi and ISIS Defectors: Inside Stories of the Terrorist Caliphate. This is not braveness; it is stupidity, since they have been told that the disease transmits through physical contact and sitting close to each other. Beside the foods they eat do not have enough nutrition to defend their health and immune system.” In reference to unpopularity, Ibrahim Guled is likely referencing prejudice and the fact that Somalis have also been overrepresented in Swedish statistics for those who joined ISIS and the fact that Swedish international workers have been killed by extremists in Somalia. Her previous research experiences include positions at Stanford University, UC San Diego, and the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland. Viral Mutations May Cause Another ‘Very, Very Bad’ COVID-19 Wave, Scientists Warn, Medical Equipment Packaging Company Hacker Who Disrupted PPE Shipments Sentenced, On the Front Lines in a Year of Crisis: 2020 Homeland Security Today Awards, Newark Liberty Loses Third TSA Officer to COVID-19, CBP Stops Counterfeit Masks in Significant Seizures, U.K. Which, you have made in your own hand. ” population is at 18,000, the! 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