Between 1,500 and 3,000 Karen refugees from Burma and Thailand are now part of Minnesota's immigrant population, City Pages reported.
According to City Pages the Karen people fled Burma where they were persecuted by the military government. The Burmese government forced them to work, flee their villages and live in fear. Some were raped, shot or killed by the government. Many fled to refugee camps in Thailand, later moving to third countries like the U.S.
Minnesota Karens have found sanctuary in St. Paul's First Baptist Church, where they make up the majority of the congregation, reported the Pioneer Press. According to City Pages, the congregation spends a large part of the sermon singing in Karen. The Pioneer Press reported that the church now offers music lessons and has a number of choirs and bands.
The City Pages article was written magazine-style as was appropriate for the publication. It gave a much more complete picture of the Karen situation. Individual stories were told through the voices of Karen people. The Pioneer Press was more of a short feature story that took the angle of music in a mostly Karen church. It was interesting to see the Pioneer Press story appear days after the City Pages story was front page.