June 11, 2022 – The attendees are largely Somali and range from as young as 13 to as old as in their 60s.

The mosques that host the groups prefer not to publicize that they do so. The support groups don’t advertise publicly and instead spread information through word of mouth. Often, parents ask mosque leaders for help with a child, whom imams then refer to Maalimisaq.

Maalimisaq, 34, went through her own journey of accepting that alcohol abuse was an issue in her community. She was visiting a Minneapolis detox center in 2018 as part of her schooling when she noticed that 80% of the people there were Somali men. Before then, she said, she had never seen a Muslim drink alcohol.

“It was just a cultural shock for me,” Maalimisaq said. “I had to check my own biases, process it and understand it afterwards.”

She quickly realized that there was a need for culturally specific substance abuse treatment.


[ninja-popup ID=12216]