This is a co-production of Active Voice and BeCause Foundations promoting the efforts of the Welcoming America NGO backed by George Soros’ Open Society Institute and several other foundations.
The focus on Shelbyville, located in Bedford County in middle Tennessee, derives from its emblematic cultural clashes from the influx of 1,100 un-assimilated Somali Muslim poultry processing workers and families in a community of 18,000. The Bible Belt has been impacted by the multi-billion dollar refugee resettlement programs implemented by our State Department and the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) at the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) during the Clinton era that vectored refugees to Gateway Cities in the American Heartland.
It is also reflected in the local opposition to a number of Mega Mosque projects in nearby locations like Antioch, Murfreesboro and Nashville, Tennessee. These have captured national attention, most recently in the CNN, Soledad O’Brien In America documentary; Unwelcome: Muslims Next Door (see here). That documentary was about the controversy over the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro expansion project. The controversy concerning the spate of mosque building projects and concerns expressed by local citizens over accommodation of Sharia Islamic law are reflected in the Republican-controlled Tennessee legislature’s deliberations over a Material Support Act for Designated Entities. This legislation is directed at curbing home grown terrorism. It likely to pass this session in Nashville, despite protests of Muslim advocacy groups and minority Democratic allies, including many Somali immigrants.
If you go to the Welcome to Shelbyville, website and view the multimedia presentation by production partner Active Voice, the impression one receives is that the community has a decided racist and bigoted past with inferences that it might have spawned the KKK created by Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forest (not the case and Bedford County is named after a revolutionary war hero). It was subsequently embroiled in Jim Crow segregation episodes up through the Civil Rights era of the 1960’s. Only passing mention is made of the county’s first African American Mayor, Eugene Ray.
In the course of reviewing the multi-media presentation you will come across Brian Mosely, AP-award winning journalist of the Shelbyville Times Gazette. We interviewed Mosely about Somalis and the severe cultural clash occasioned by Tyson Foods hiring these refugee émigrés to replace illegal Hispanic aliens at a local poultry processing plant. Mosely appears in the Welcome to Shelbyville documentary, mainly as a target for local immigrant groups, Latino and Somali, castigating the community for not accommodating the Somali Muslim workers, despite Mosely’s carefully and well documented evidence of severe conflicts.
Perhaps, it was Mosely’s revelations about the less than helpful efforts of the Tennessee Immigration and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) that placed billboards throughout middle Tennessee promoting the community acceptance of Somali immigrants that may have set off the producers patent attack on him in the documentary. The TIRRC billboard campaign led to the formation of the Welcoming America NGO started in 2007. This NGO’s aim is to foster similar efforts in a number of locales through the American Heartland including Welcoming projects in more than 11 states involving Latinos, Somalis and other immigrant groups. The fundamentalist Somali Muslims’ demands in Shelbyville for obligatory Islamic Sharia compliance have created problems. These have disrupted labor management relations at the Tyson Food plant, hampered absorption problems compounded by lack of English language proficiency and communications. The Somalis have evinced offensive and arrogant attitudes demeaning women and other minorities.
The Shelbyville culture clash was the subject of interviews by Christian Broadcasting Network counterterrorism analyst, Erick Stakelbeck in the community, including Times-Gazette writer, Mosely. Note this exchange drawn from Stakelbeck’s new book, The Terrorist Next Door.
“They’ve had an impact here. Unfortunately, it’s not been a good impact,” said Brian Mosely, a reporter for the Shelbyville Times-Gazette newspaper.
“I found that there was just an enormous culture clash going on here,” Mosely said.
“The Somalis were—according to a lot of the people I talked to here—being very, very rude, inconsiderate, very demanding. They would go into stores and haggle over prices. They would also demand to see a male salesperson; [they] would not deal with women in stores.”
“We’re talking about people who have not had any experience with Western civilization,” Mosely explained.
“They don’t know the language. Things like running water are a miracle to some of these folks.
. . You don’t take people from a totally alien culture, put them into a community, and then say, ‘Alright, you must get along.’”
Welcome to Shelbyville was premiered in the community in October, 2010. The production was selected by the US State Department to be shown in more than 38 diplomatic legations in the third world. One presentation occurred in our embassy in the capitol of sectarian strife-torn Lagos, Nigeria.
There have been over 90 previews in the run up to the May 24th nationwide PBS presentation. One of those took place on May 9th in Los Angeles sponsored by the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) with its founder, Salam Al Mayarti. MPAC is one of several Muslim Brotherhood fronts like CAIR, ISNA and the ICNA engaged in promoting the Welcome to Shelbyville documentary. Perhaps this MPAC presentation of Welcome to Shelbyville was done out of solidarity with their fundamentalist Somali Muslim brethren, or perhaps to promote the liberal supported views that all Muslims are being discriminated against, or both.
Al Mayarti is someone to be watched. He is a ‘truther’ having accused the Israelis of fomenting 9/11. He is a defender of designated foreign terrorist groups, Hamas and Hezbollah.
An alum of MPAC is Arif Alikhan, the former Los Angeles Deputy Mayor and Bush US Department of Justice aide, who nixed an L.A.P.D. Muslim community profiling project endeavoring to detect Jihadists.
Alikhan was appointed in 2009 as Assistant Secretary for Policy at the US Department of Homeland Security under Secretary Janet Napolitano.
Piercing the veil of the Welcome to Shelbyville production sponsors, BeCause Foundation, Active Voice and Welcoming America, we find an assortment of former PBS producers, Obama Campaign Aides, a former TIRRC director, funding by Chicago property mogul Sam Zell, international hedge fund billionaire George Soros and other foundations. Further investigation of these co-producers reveals connections to Arab American, immigration advocacy groups, UN and US refugee resettlement programs and voluntary agency contractors.
The Chicago-based BeCause Foundation website describes itself as:
[driving] social change through the powerful fusion of documentary filmmaking …implementing engagement campaigns and coalition building around the films… helps transform such solutions into broad based movements for social change.
Richard Kincaid, founder and President of the group since 2003 was a financial officer with Chicago real estate mogul and billionaire Sam Zell’s Equity Office Property Trust as was executive director, Debbie Ferruzzi.
. . . using film, television and multimedia to spark social change from grassroots to grass tops. Our team of strategic communications specialists works with media makers, funders, advocates and thought leaders to put a human face on the issues of our times.
Active Voice counts among its non-profit clients, groups engaged in Arab American advocacy, Immigration Reform and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees that controls who gets vectored into the American heartland by our State Department and HHS refugee resettlement programs.
Among these are:
• American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee*
• American Civil Liberties Union
• American Constitution Society*
• Amnesty International USA*
• Heartland Alliance’s Midwest Immigrants
• National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation National Council of La Raza
• National Immigrant Justice Center
• UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
Active Voice has been involved with a number Immigration Advocacy and Faith-Based groups, including a number of Voluntary Agencies, contractors with the State Department Refugee and HHS resettlement programs:
• California Council of Churches
• Catholic Charities*
• Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC)*
• Center for Islamic Studies
• Church World Service*
• Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society
• Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS)
• National Council of Churches USA
• World Relief.
Executive director Ellen Schneider was formerly the executive producer of P.O.V., PBS's independent documentary series. She created reality TV pilots and sits on juried film festivals like Sundance. Greg Ligon, Active Voice’s Online communications Associate helped organize the youth vote programs at Obama for America and Corzine for Governor in New Jersey and was an aide in the legislative office of Congressman Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-NJ), whose district includes significant local Hispanic and Muslim constituencies. Pascrell has sponsored seminars for Muslim constituents and CAIR at the US Capitol.
The Atlanta-based Welcoming America NGO is headed by David Lubell, the former director and founder of TIRRC, host organization for Welcoming Tennessee and the inspiration for Welcoming America. Welcoming America now has advocacy educational projects based on the TIRRC model in more than 11 states in America.
TIRRC is now considered a model for emerging immigrant’s rights coalitions forming across the U.S., and was named “Advocacy Affiliate of the Year” in 2008 by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest Latino civil rights organization in the U.S.
Listen to Lubell and others on a PBS NPR Forum panel discuss ‘the receiving communities movement’ dealing with immigrant integration and advocacy for undocumented aliens and refugees.
Welcoming America has been the recipient of grants from several foundations: $150,000 from the Open Society Institute of George Soros; a $300,000 ‘entrepreneur’ grant from The Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation; and, $90,000 from the JM Kaplan Foundation.
According to Lubell, his group Welcoming America allegedly avoids immigration reform or politics instead concentrating on building rapport with resident populations via community building rather than creating immigrant infrastructure and power bases. That is allegedly what attracted the group’s significant backing from these philanthropies.
The problem, as exemplified by what Mosely and others have encountered with Somali Muslim immigrants is that they reject the very same resident populations that Welcoming America is trying to reach. That makes for volatile relations and possible violence in communities that host these alien immigrants rejecting basic Western values. Which means that the Welcome to Shelbyville documentary doesn’t convey the realities of absorption. It glosses over them, while attacking the truth tellers.
I could never watch this. Just bought a new T.V. and wouldn't want to harm it.
So Tyson was using illegal aliens as employees until the U.S. gov't convinced management to hire legal gov't sponsored Somalis?
Was the company charged with any immigration crimes or fined in any way?
As for the Somalis and their backward habits? It's still the same-old, same-old.
About ten or eleven years ago a canadian T.V. network did a lengthy report about a Toronto apartment building that had basically been taken over by large externded Somali families. Exact same conflicts, exact same discords, and the exact same inability on the part of the Somalis to fit in and get along with others.
20 May 2011 Joan
Great job, Jerry.
The ignorant hispanic man has no idea who he's championing. It seems to be La Raza versus Shabad.
And what about the citizens of Shelbyville? And Brian Mosely who wrote great articles? Pity them because their town, their lives will never be the same.