Somali Community Leader: Most Have Absolutely No Issue With Hospital Crucifixes
ST. CLOUD - A community leader is speaking out, saying most Somali Muslims and people of other faiths have no issue with crucifixes and religious signs in St. Cloud Hospital.
St. Cloud Hospital has a policy to take down crucifixes from patient rooms if it's requested. Sometimes patients of different faiths will ask. WJON wrote the story after numerous phone calls asking about Somali Muslims specifically making the request.
Haji Yussuf is a community leader through Unitecloud and a business owner. He's lived in St. Cloud for almost 10 years. He says he's been to St. Cloud Hospital several times and never felt bothered by crosses or religious symbols.
"I've had two children born at St. Cloud Hospital and we never saw that as a big deal for us. At the moment, what mattered was having a healthy baby. Crosses and religious artifacts didn't bother us."
Bret Reuter, the director of mission and spiritual care at St. Cloud Hospital said previously to WJON that the hospital still operates under Catholic values and the vision of the Benedictine Sisters of being inclusive and letting the gospel message of love and “love thy neighbor” inform everything they do. As St. Cloud has become more diverse, the hospital has worked to accommodate and care for people of all faiths-including removing religious symbols from their rooms if it’s requested.
“Sometimes people don’t feel the crucifix is a supportive symbol and they even feel it’s problematic. So we do as a matter of fact, if the patient requests, remove the crucifix from the wall while they’re in the room and put it back up when they’re discharged,” Reuter said.
Yussuf says nobody in the Somali community has ever mentioned the religious symbols in the hospital to him.
"It did not interfere with my faith. It did not interfere in what I believe in as a Muslim. Some people may have a different belief, but that's the beauty of the freedom in our country. I don't think it's an issue."
Reuter was quick to say that most Muslims don’t make any request to have the crucifix taken down. St. Cloud Hospital also tries to have religious material available that reflects the community. They have Bibles, Quran’s, Bibles in different languages and many other religious texts available for patients.
Yussuf acknowleges that a few Muslims, Athiests or people from other religious may request a cross be taken down, but they don't represent a majority of people.
"It could be an athiest or anyone with a different belief. If one individual decides he doesn't want the cross, then that's their right. But they do not represent a majority of people who are trying to build a viable peaceful community."