The destruction of churches in Sri Lanka during Easter services is deeply disturbing because not only was life lost, but it was lost during a sacred time, when worshipers were taking the name of God.

Muslims must protect the rights of others to freely practice their religion. It is a fundamental part of faith. The Qur’an speaks unequivocally on the fact that if we do not protect the rights of all people, we will see the destruction of “cloisters, churches, synagogues and mosques wherein the name of God is oft commemorated (22:40).” It places the rights of these houses of worship at par with mosques.

The prophet Mohammed went to great measures to ensure the protection of other faiths. In a covenant made with the Christian monasteries, he clearly outlined: “No monk shall be expelled from his monastery. None of their churches and other places will be desolated, destroyed or demolished. No material of their churches will be used for building mosques or houses of the Muslims. Any Muslim doing so will be regarded as recalcitrant to God and His Prophet.”

When the caliph Umar ibn Al-Khattab entered Jerusalem, he was offered to pray inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. He refused, citing that he did not wish such an action to be construed to mean that Muslims can assert rights over others’ places of worship.

True Islam defends others’ places of worship; it doesn’t destroy them.

Sofia Qureshi, Appleton, Wis.

SOUTHWEST LIGHT RAIL

Letter writers’ assumption of environmental benefits is mistaken

April 23 letter writers reflect two assumptions about Southwest light-rail transit that need to be corrected.

First, the Southwest line will not have significant environmental benefits. In part because relatively few new-to-transit riders will use the train, the line “will increase the [greenhouse gas] emission in the Twin Cities area by approximately 2,000 metric tons per year in 2040, compared to No Build alternative” (final Environmental Impact Statement, page 3-204).

Second, poor planning, not neighborhood concerns, has delayed the project. Freight-rail carriers, which will now have to share the corridor with electrified light rail, have understandably drawn out negotiations. The Southwest project’s 29 new bridges, two new tunnels, six pedestrian underpasses and hundreds of feet of retaining walls present complicated engineering challenges. Yet all work has continued despite environmental issues raised by concerned citizens, rising costs, and better, more-equitable routing options.

Jeanette Colby, Minneapolis

• • •

Although I understand that in the long run the light-rail line running along the Kenilworth trail will help to combat climate change, taking out a thousand trees and underbrush at exactly the time that birds are nesting and hatching their chicks is a terrible idea (“Light-rail toll: 1,000 trees on trail,” front page, April 22). Thousands of birds will be lost at a point in time when they are losing habitat, food sources and trying to dodge the windows of our myriad stadiums. Delaying a few months seems the least that we can do to support nature.

Lenore Millibergity, Minneapolis

CULTURAL REPERCUSSIONS

Pro sports teams rush to judgment on ‘God Bless America’ singer

Professional hockey’s Philadelphia Flyers and pro baseball’s New York Yankees, supreme judges of American morality, have decided that Kate Smith was a racist and they will no longer play her version of “God Bless America” (April 20). Personally, “I’m shocked, shocked” to find out that there were racist lyrics in a movie from 1933! As a 26-year-old female singer, how much choice did she have over a movie’s song selection? In her entire body of work, they are criticizing one other song with atrociously racist lyrics, but she sang that one with Paul Robeson, acclaimed concert artist and civil rights activist. So, does that mean he was a racist too?

Smith had a long, visible public career. She was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Ronald Reagan. Other than these two old songs, how did she lead her life? Is there evidence that her actions over the years were racist? If these sports teams had taken a breath, done some research, and found that she was a secret member of the KKK, or an unabashed supporter of white supremacists, their reaction would make sense.

The Flyers used to believe that Smith was their good-luck charm. They even put up a statue in her honor, not for her good deeds, but because she helped them win games. Now that they’ve taken down her statue and refuse to play her song, I guess we’ll see if karma intervenes.

Rochelle Eastman, Savage

MOHAMED NOOR TRIAL

I support the police, but this case is leading to disillusionment

I am a big fan of law enforcement to the point that all my outdoor lights are blue in a show of support. However, the more I hear about the fatal shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond by then Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor, the more disillusioned I become.

It seems more important to law enforcement involved to paint a picture that may not be consistent with actual circumstances. Although it does seem consistent with police union leader Bob Kroll’s typical and infamous zero-sum approach.

Noor apparently shot a lethal bullet across the front of his partner into the innocent body of a person he seemingly could barely even see. Whispers, no-comments, spin and stubbornness. Not what one would expect from those “sworn to serve and protect.”

As for my blue lights of support, they will remain in support of the 99% of law enforcement who honor their commitment every day.

God bless and watch over them.

Stewart Hanson, Wayzata

BREXIT

Editorial Board is perilously close to thumbing its nose at democracy

The April 20 editorial “Brexit extension reflects dysfunction” makes some startling points about the decision of the British people to exit Europe. Its justification for a second referendum, on the basis of the first one being a mistake, fails to recognize that the Brexit vote was the highest recorded vote in British history, with over 71% voting and 52% of the population voting to exit the European Union. To brush aside democracy as a mistake is an alarming statement and adds fuel to the fire of those who believe in autocracy and less democracy.

Many supporters of “remain” who are defenders of democracy reject the call for a second referendum. The only way to deal with the current situation is through a general election and letting the people decide which way they want the country to go. With democracy under attack and the rise of dictators on the world stage, the Star Tribune Editorial Board could be more cautious.

Mike Mitchell, Falcon Heights

The writer is Midwest representative of the Labour International, an organization for members of the Labour Party who live outside the United Kingdom.