Those calling for increased demonization of Muslims in Europe and America as a response to the terrorist attacks in France should be aware that this response is precisely what terrorists are dreaming of. The growing prejudice against Muslims there and here has not succeeded in radicalizing the Muslim communities on either continent. Terrorists stage attacks such as this to provoke hatred and persecution, which they hope will radicalize Muslims who would rather go about their lives in peace.

This may be lost on those Americans unaware that our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan gave Al-Qaida exactly what it wanted. Still, I can hope that some see the sanity in frustrating terrorists by pursuing them with criminal justice rather than the divisiveness they so desperately attempt to inspire.

James Fillmore, St. Paul

• • •

The tragic nature of what happened in Paris surely brings out a lot of emotional reactions. I respect the impulse to vent, but not so much the calling out of the Star Tribune by a Jan. 8 letter writer. Rather than demanding that the paper print cartoons of Mohammed, why doesn’t he get on social media and film himself in front of his house depicting any kind of statement about Mohammed he likes? Stand up or shut up.

Ruth Olson, Minneapolis

• • •

This excerpt from Salman Rushdie regarding the Paris killings says it all: “ ‘Respect for religion’ has become a code phrase meaning ‘fear of religion.’ Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire and, yes, our fearless disrespect.”

Curtis H. Foster, Minneapolis

MALL PROTESTERS

No liability? How about at stadiums?

Columnist Jon Tevlin argues (Jan. 8) that the public funding for the Mall of America entitles protesters to take it over, canceling scheduled activities, to express their views, without responsibility for damages.

Quite a few local sports teams play in publicly supported venues. What if protest groups, instead of just hanging around the edges asking for attention, were to take over the playing surface and refuse to allow a game to be played? Should they also be free of responsibility for the financial impact?

This might be an important principle to clarify soon — say, before the Washington NFL team visits here again.

Hal Keen, St. Paul

 

MIKE CIRESI

Only part of the firm, but he gets the press

In a lengthy front-page article about Mike Ciresi forming a new law firm with two partners, Ciresi’s many accomplishments are touted (“Legal giant’s big move — go small,” Jan. 7). Yet no mention was made of the backgrounds or accomplishments of his two female partners, “veteran litigators” Jan Conlin and Katie Crosby Lehmann. Aren’t their backgrounds newsworthy? With a dearth of women in corporate leadership roles, the Star Tribune missed an opportunity to report on two women who have made it to the top.

Janet Hallaway, Minneapolis

 

THE COLD

Dressing warmly isn’t a bad place to begin

The photographs used with the Jan. 8 article “Mix of cold, mischief besets schools” tells an interesting story. The two girls walking to the bus in the picture on the front page are wearing neither hats nor gloves or mittens (although one has pulled a hood over her head), and their jackets look more suitable for a 20-degree day than the below-zero temperatures experienced in the Twin Cities on Wednesday. Only two of the six students pictured in the photograph on the jump page are wearing hats, and one even has his jacket open.

Are the parents sending their children to school dressed like this, or is it the kids’ choice? Is staying warm so uncool that kids will risk exposure to 30-below windchills just to look good? Maybe schools need to start offering classes on how to dress in Minnesota winters instead of closing schools at the first hint of cold weather.

Brian Kallio, St. Anthony

 

THE ECONOMY

Maybe next president gets the impacts

While I am sure all the historical facts about economic ups and downs in a Jan. 8 letter are true — could they not prove just the opposite of what the letter writer is saying? Major economic trends do not just happen in short periods of time — there is always a lag between any administration’s policies and their actual results. One could then posit that the downturns and upturns were the lagged results of the previous administration’s policies. The birds come home to nest only after the predator has left the area.

Dennis Saliny, Rosemount

 

SOUTHWEST LRT

Park Board’s concerns are long-standing

As a former president of the Minneapolis Park Board, I feel compelled to point out the misrepresentation of the board’s actions in a series of articles and commentaries about Southwest light-rail transit. The most recent article (“Dayton sees viability of Southwest LRT in doubt,” Jan. 8) states: “And the Minneapolis Park Board also is raising new concerns about the project.”

These concerns are not new at all — the Park Board started raising them six years ago when I served as president, at the same time the Park Board lawyers first advised that under federal law, parkland may not be claimed if there is a feasible alternative. The concerns about the Kenilworth channel have been a hot topic in the past two Park Board elections. Metropolitan Council head Susan Haigh can claim dismay all she likes; however, the Park Board has been very clear for a very long time that it was not on board with the plan and that it had legal standing to challenge it. The Met Council has chosen to ignore, bully and now vilify the Park Board instead of working with it to address legitimate concerns.

Regardless of one’s stand on the Kenilworth channel (I live near the channel and support SWLRT), the Met Council should have respected the Park Board’s rights and duty to the citizens of Minneapolis. The responsibility for the current SWLRT crisis is on the Met Council’s shoulders, not the Park Board’s.

Tom Nordyke, Minneapolis

 

The writer was president of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board from 2008 to 2009.