Everything we do involves our religion and Islamic beliefs.: Becoming Minnesotan

Female silhouette.
  • Name - Maryan Del
  • Age at interview - 26
  • Gender - Female
  • Generation - First Generation American / Refugee
  • Date of Interview - 06.21.2004
  • Somali wedding, Minneapolis, 2004.  Minnesota Historical Society, education Dept

    We Are Here

    Religion, Somali

    Essential Question

    We Are Here: What does it mean to this immigrant group to be here in America?

    Cultural Preservation: How does a person weave his or her traditional culture into a new American identity?

    Words to look for


    Background Information

    Somalis mostly belong to the Islamic religion, which has its own set of rules and practices its believers must follow.  Many Somalis are afraid that as they become more involved in American life they will lose parts of their Islamic faith, their Somali identity, or their traditions and culture. Each person struggles with the ongoing decisions they must make concerning which parts of American culture to adopt and which parts of Somali culture to keep.

    To learn more about Somali history and culture, visit our Somali Community page.

    • Chapter 1

    Download Maryan Del 10
    1:11 Minutes | 1.14Mb


    Narrator: Maryan Del (MD)

    Interviewer: Sumaya Yusuf (SY)

    SY:  What are the three most important parts of Somali culture?

    MD:  Religion, that’s number one for us. Because everything we do involves our religion and Islamic beliefs. So really whatever we do, number one is our religion. Number two is preserving our culture, because without culture you're nothing. You have to have something to claim, to grab, to tell your children, to tell your grandchildren and let your grandchildren tell their own children. I think my third one will be we have great respect for our elderly people, because they are the ones that are our builders. Without them, we would not have our history. We might not be a written country, but if you’d sit for five minutes with an elderly person, they’ll tell you everything oral, the history, everything. We have a great respect for our older people because they’re the ones who contribute. They’re the ones that are actually keeping our culture and making our young ones hold onto their culture and beliefs and all that stuff.

    Related Glossary Terms


    Noun:  The arts, customs, and habits that characterize a particular society or nation.


    Adjective:  Pertaining to the religion of Islam, a monotheistic religion that originated with the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad having the same roots as Christianity and Judaism.


    Adjective:  Spoken rather than written.


    Verb:  To protect; to keep; to maintain the condition of.  (preserves, preserving, preserved)


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access]. http://www.mnhs.org/immigration
    nid: 546