The St. Anthony City Council's vote to reject plans for an Islamic center in the old Medtronic headquarters reflects a fearful effort by local officials to prevent a legitimate organization from having a place to do its business. It's absurd to give serious credence to the idea that a house of worship is an incompatible use in a light-industrial district. Churches already exist in residential, commercial and downtown districts without harm to neighbors. It's more plausible that the disparaging remarks made about Islam at this week's council meeting lie at the heart of this thinly reasoned rejection. Had this been a Christian group attempting to open a worship space, it's unlikely that the council would have objected and we would not be reading about this overtly discriminatory action. Equality is a radical concept. Implementing equality in a public setting requires courage to stand against the fear that is infrequently discussed openly but is a hidden driver of such flawed decisions.
GEORGE HUTCHINSON, MINNEAPOLIS
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