LIBERAL, Kan. (KSNW) – The planned terror attack on the Somali community in Garden City has both Liberal officials and residents concerned about the well-being of their Somali neighbors.
“We don’t want them to leave the community in fear of what’s recently happened,” said Liberal Police Chief Al Sill. “We want them to stay here as viable members of our community.”
Two of the men charged with planning the attack lived in Liberal, so the local police held a meeting today to reassure local Somalis that they are safe and welcome.
“I thought that a lot people wouldn’t come,” said Qali Farah, a Somali resident of Liberal. “It’s going to be like a small meeting, but it turned out that everybody showed up.”
About 80 residents came to show support for Liberal Somalis and to learn about each other’s cultures.
“We came here as a community to interact with other communities of Liberal and to share our questions and concerns about what happened the last two weeks,” said Farah.
The meeting made an impact on both Somali and non-Somali residents, which was the goal of the Seward County Community College, an organizer of the event.
“A lot of the Somali community was here,” said Travis Combs, who helped organized the meeting on behalf of the college. “So I thought it was very good. It was opening. And I don’t feel people felt many tension. I thought it was open dialogue and it was good for our community.”
“It went wonderful,” said Farah. “I didn’t think it would turn out like this, but it turned out to be a wonderful one, and we are hoping this is going to be the beginning, not the end of the community of Liberal coming together.”
Local and state politicians also turned out today to show their support for the Somali community.