Lewiston mayor tells Somalis to ‘leave your culture at the door’

If you believe in (Somali culture) so much, why aren’t you over there fighting for it?” Macdonald said in the WGME interview. “If you believe in it so much, why aren’t you over there shedding your blood to get it? Why are you over here shirking your duties?”

Lewiston Mayor Robert Macdonald speaks with WGME-TV on Tuesday about anti-immigrant comments he made in a BBC documentary.

Mayor Robert Macdonald’s comments to the BBC earlier this year have again put the city in the spotlight — and not in a good way.

In a documentary on America that aired Sept. 11, Macdonald told the BBC: “You (immigrants) come here, you come and you accept our culture and you leave your culture at the door.”

Those comments came up again last weekend when the Maine Global Institute played the segment during a workshop in Portland.

Macdonald attempted this week to clarify the statement, telling WGME television: “When anybody comes here from any country, they have to embrace our culture. Now, do they have to give up their own culture at home? No. If they want to carry on you know, the Irish St. Patrick’s Day, the French, the Italians, everybody, they all keep their culture, but we all practice a unique culture, and that is an American culture that over 200 years has been developed.”

He also dismissed concern from the immigrant community that the comments apparently aimed at Somalis were divisive and hurtful.


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