A widely endorsed advertisement in the Feb. 1 Star Tribune identified Islamic bigotry as being prevalent and un-Minnesotan. The ad could have been much more effective if on the page opposite there had not been a story of 86 people being murdered by Boko Haram, including children burning to death. Or, two pages later, a story of a Salafi cleric in Yemen who was murdered after giving an antiterrorism sermon.

Yes, I am a Minnesotan. I consider myself somewhere left of a bigot and somewhere right of having a head-in-the-sand worldview. I hope our leaders can find such a sane position from which to govern.

Jim Schultz, Maple Plain

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In the 26 years I have lived in Minnesota, there have been many opportunities to boast about my adopted home. I have always used the tagline “Just another reason I am proud to live in Minnesota.”

But never more than on Monday, upon seeing the full-page ad titled “It’d be Un-Minnesotan.” Imagine: A bipartisan group of leaders stands up and speaks out against bigotry and prejudice — publicly and in print — in 2016. (Related story: “Leaders’ ad decries anti-Islam bigotry,” Feb. 2.)

Perhaps it is true that I am an idealist, that the world cannot be as noble as I wish it to be. But for one brief moment, here in Minnesota, we saw a glimpse of real leadership — of lofty goals — of, as the ad says, “sleeve-worn courage, goodness and kindness.”

Thank you, Democratic U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, Republican businessman John Taft and other Minnesota leaders for demonstrating once again why this state makes me believe in a noble world — why I am Minnesota Proud.

Janet L. Berry, Golden Valley

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So, not one current Republican officeholder in Minnesota was prepared to add their name to the ad. Is that because none of them agrees with the content or intent of the message? I suspect that some of them do. Could their hesitancy be based on the impact that support might have on their political future? The heated rhetoric on this topic during the current presidential primary campaign might be a clue.

Bill Niederloh, Crystal

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The ad was misguided and dangerous. It purposely misstated political statements in order to have relevancy. Just as a blanket condemnation is incorrect, so is blanket support. For in doing so, one fails to realize that a very small portion of a religious sect is responsible for the death and torture of thousands of people. It ignores a growing threat to this nation that must be addressed.

What the ad attempts to convey is that many in the Republican Party are racists of the highest order. That any concern or attention paid to threats of terrorism is unwarranted because it paints an ethnicity with a broad brush. This is dangerous because someone who might witness an act or incident may fail to report it. Didn’t we learn a lesson from the San Bernardino attack?

Putting a mantle of protection around an entire ethnicity is shortsighted and dangerous, and it is political pandering. We are smart enough to balance our safety concern while treating others as a valuable partner.

Joseph Polunc, Cologne

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Could you ask Ellison and his fellow travelers where exactly “Muslims” have been abused, humiliated, etc., in this fair state? Those sponsoring the ad are accusing perfectly innocent citizens of behavior that is nonexistent, thereby making those same citizens the actual victims of — in particular Ellison’s — racism and bigotry, and, for that matter, delusion. A little less hate in their hearts would go a long way toward serving the “Muslim” population they so readily champion.

Katherine Kennedy, Stillwater

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The ad, approved by elected officials and other persons of high standing, in itself appears to be un-Minnesotan. You’re supposed to represent all of the people of Minnesota, not just some. By excluding all other of the constituent religions in the state (Christian, Protestant, born-again Christian, Catholic, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Baptist and many others), aren’t you practicing a type of bigotry yourselves? Are you implying that it is OK to do the things you mention in the article against people of all these other religions? I certainly hope not. I hope that it was just a lapse in your judgment not to include all religions in your comments. I humbly request that you revise your ad to include all religions and republish it. We should not be un-Minnesotan to any and all people, no matter what their religion.

Andy Pakalns, St. Paul



St. Paul school’s political correctness diminishes all

Once again, the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many. I refer to the recent decision to cease the practice of celebrating holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas at the Bruce Vento Elementary School in St. Paul out of the misguided idea of not offending those who attend those schools but do not celebrate those holidays (“One school’s Valentine’s ban reflects wider issue,” Jan. 29). To continue down this “politically correct” road misses a golden opportunity. That opportunity is to educate newcomers to some of the celebrations that take place in their new country, and allow them to share celebrations that they have in the countries they come from.

By introducing one another to their cultural celebrations, an educational opportunity is present whereby all can be proud of their own heritage while learning something about someone else’s. Eliminating celebrations that for decades have been a staple in the school systems here in the U.S. just because immigrants might be “offended” is the wrong tactic to employ. Rather, explain to the offended that there are other holidays that are no more or less valid than their own. And let all take pleasure in celebrating their holidays, and even come to value in some way the celebrations brought to our shores.

Greg Hagfors, Minneapolis