is a Somali Australian who has a BS in Security and Counter Terrorism from Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia and is embarking now on a Master’s degree in Psychology at Monash University, Melbourne. Competing interests: Furthermore, when religious extremists preach against government health advisories, measures need to be taken to counter their detrimental influence, before it is too late to prevent severe damage both to the diaspora community and the wider society. [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. 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. 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. [7] In a randomised trial on individuals with frequent respiratory tract infections, treatment with cholecalciferol 4000 IE/day reduced the need for antibiotic treatment. 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. Considering that only 0.84% of the Stockholm County population was born in Somalia (n=8,178 by … Many in these communities are more likely to live in crowded, multigeneration households and are unable to work remotely. Other Swedish medical experts estimate 18 percent of the COVID-19 deaths country-wide are from the Somali community. 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 … 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. They also listen to wrong information with extremist ideas from religion scholars. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00127-20. Somali-Swedes have criticized authorities for not doing enough to support the community during the coronavirus pandemic, national broadcaster SVT has reported. Census numbers put the state's Somali's population at about 40,000, but community activists have said it's higher. It was amazing!”. Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data. The aim of the present work therefore was to perform a new prevalence study in the same As the coronavirus spreads in Sweden, there are concerns that working class areas of the country will be the hardest hit. The party earned only 3 percent support in 2010. quarantine. Bergman P, Norlin AC, Hansen S, Rekha RS, Agerberth B, et al. Today it is polling at around 18 percent. dark-skinned adults with low sun-exposure and/or individuals with risk factors for respiratory tract infections. 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. Why don’t you get rid of the small virus? 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. No competing interests, Örebro University, School of Medical Sciences, Copyright © 2021 BMJ Publishing Group Ltd     京ICP备15042040号-3, Women’s, children’s & adolescents’ health, Inhabitants of Swedish-Somali origin are at great risk for covid-19. 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. 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. 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. J Virol. 7. Another possible explanation is Ethnic benign neutropenia - the most common form of neutropenia worldwide and very common among East African populations. The Board has declared ASD in the Somali population in Sweden a prioritized area of research. She regularly writes a column for Homeland Security Today and 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. [8] The mechanism is debated; however, modulation of the renin-angiotensin system has been implicated in animal studies of acute respiratory distress syndrome,[9] and angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 is a well-established receptor for the SARS-CoV virus.[10]. 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. 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 … 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.…. 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. mats.humble@oru.se; susanne.bejerot@oru.se. This disease will only kill non-believers.’ But they are wrong. 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. The result has been the rise of the Sweden Democrats, a party whose bland name conceals a Nazi past. doi: 10.1136/bmj.m1101. 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. He was told to remain in the house, but yet went out and visited restaurants in Bellevue, Gothenburg to relax and socialize. Established in 1991 to provide refuge for families fleeing the Somali Civil War, Dadaab consists of four camps: Dagahaley, Hagadera, Ifo, and Ifo 2. in Forensic Psychology from The George Washington University and a B.S. 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). My friend said, the Somalis were still there. doi: 10.1002/pbc.27361. In this last regard, 4) extremist preachers on the Internet and on the ground have unfortunately encouraged disregard for Swedish prevention recommendations and social distancing, saying instead that one’s fate is ordained by Allah and that only non-Muslims will contract COVID-19. These include: 1) a culture of stubborn disregard of advice from authorities; 2) ignorance due to language barriers when that advice comes in languages other than Somali. If you were arrogant yesterday, feel the pain today, which, you have made in your own hand.”. 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. Mol Med Rep. 2017;16:7432-8. doi: 10.3892/mmr.2017.7546. [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. 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. 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. Somalis are not the ones who take what is going to be taken as history and learn from it.”, 37-year-old Somali Mohamed Omar who lives in Garowe, Somalia agrees on the stubborn and resistant nature of Somali diaspora populations stating, “The main reason is that they have not followed the health instructions given to them. Editor’s choice. 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. [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. I’ve watched shows from Somali National TV televised where the reporter asked people playing and socialising at Lido beach in Mogadishu [Somalia] if they are unaware of corona virus. ... and around 90 percent of the population coming from an immigrant background. Vitamin D status is strongly related to low sun exposure and dark skin. 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. 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. Eur J Clin Will Upcoming Trials of ISIS Women in Syria Speed Up Repatriations of Some? [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. Does this prove social distancing save lives? Often Somalis are gathering socially. 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). 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. Second, the Somalis in Sweden are concentrated in community center areas, where older people know each other and frequently visit one another. Cashman KD, Ritz C, Adebayo FA, Dowling KG, Itkonen ST, et al. In addition, Somalis are not afraid from disease. Across Scandinavia this picture is repeated: Sweden has 57,000 Somalis, the second highest population of Somalis in Europe. The largest share of that group … 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 foreign governments on issues of repatriation and rehabilitation of ISIS foreign fighters, wives and children. 2016;70:373-9. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2015.176. 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. BMJ Open. 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. These likely can be addressed with good public policy measures that can first reach their target audiences by appealing to the diaspora communities in their own language. ... From 2017 onwards immigration to Sweden has dropped, and the 2019 population growth – less than 100,000 people – was the lowest since 2013. 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. To draw comparisons between the Somali experience in Minnesota and Sweden, it is first necessary to present some preliminary population data. In order to cope with the covid-19 epidemic, preventive measures could be administration of vitamin D to high-risk populations, e.g. One Somali sheikh listened to by some in the global diaspora, of particular concern for giving bad advice over the Internet, is Mohamud Abdi Umal. The population in Sweden grew at its slowest rate in 15 years in the first half of the year, the same figures show. 2012;2(6). Most Somalis in Denmark emigrated from Somalia following the start of the Somali Civil War (1986-), in the period between 1995 and 2000. Nutr. Several generations can live in the same apartment," he added. Godlee F. The burning building. 5. BMJ 2020;368:m110110.1136. 6 of the 15 victims who have died of COVID-19 are Somali. 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