Somali community protests shutdown of hawalas
St. Paul, MN – Hundreds of Somali American families gathered on the State Capitol grounds, Jan. 6, to protest shutdown of hawalas. Hawalas are the only way that Somalis in the U.S. can send money to relatives in their homeland. 3 million people in Somalia depended on these remittances for survival. Because of U.S. government restrictions stemming from the ‘war on terror,’ Sunrise Community Bank, the one bank that used to process funds for all of the hawalas in Minnesota, stopped working with hawalas in late December. This is a cause of great anguish for people fearful for their families in Somalia. One demand is for the U.S. to grant a waiver so the bank will resume processing wire transfers via hawalas.