One page, so many thoughts. On Good Friday (no less), two commentaries on Page A7 of the Star Tribune made an effort to wrap our minds around the issue of terrorism. Both authors at least mentioned reasons the scourge exists. One reason sticks out. Poverty. It creates anger and violence. Those who act out can be foreign or native. They can form armies or be loners. No matter what, solutions are hard to come by. I am convinced that education is the best single answer (single, not only). Unfortunately, that takes time, commitment, direction — and money.
In the meantime, what do we do? Generating additional anger by disregarding the perspectives of the discontented doesn’t work. To different degrees, both commentaries sent that message.
One writer (“Radical Islamophobia: a formula for war”) essentially wants our planes to stop bombing in the Middle East. The other (“Now we’re just one nation, under surveillance”) wants us to remove weapons detectors from courthouse doors.
Negotiating — basically bargaining — with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant might be useful, even if that prospect is distasteful.
Removing the detectors is impractical. Advanced vocabulary, presumptions of innocence, pithy quotations and easy dismissals (detectors are there “merely because” of so-called timid courthouse authorities, or “simply because of” not correcting underlying causes) can’t stop bullets or disarm explosive vests.
Jim Bartos, Brooklyn Park
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Arun Kundnani writes that intelligence agencies, academic departments and think tanks have spent millions in a failed attempt to find a correlation between having extremist religious ideas and involvement in terrorism. He goes on to claim that “in fact, no such correlation exists.” We don’t need to spend millions to prove Mr. Kundnani wrong; we simply need to consider the events surrounding recent acts of terrorism. Why do Islamic terrorists scream “Allahu akbar”(“God is great”) when they cut off the heads of Christians in Syria and Iraq, or when they stab Jews in Israel? Why do Islamic schools and mosques teach hatred of Jews and Christians, while exhorting their followers to use violence against them? Why after the attacks in Paris, Brussels and San Bernardino, Calif., did supporters of ISIL celebrate on social media by writing “Allahu akbar”? And finally, why does the Qur’an exhort devout followers of Islam to find nonbelievers and “kill them wherever you find them”? (2:191-193).
Kundani’s claim that “war creates violence” — and that by discontinuing our airstrikes in Iraq and Syria and freely admitting refugees from those regions to enter the U.S., we will end the “cycle of violence” — is a sure recipe for disaster.
Ronald Haskvitz, St. Louis Park
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Kundnani makes a persuasive argument that conducting war on radical Muslims radicalizes more Muslims. He advises that after 14 years of failure in the war on terror, “we need to try something else.” What does he suggest?
David Aquilina, Minneapolis
Bill targeting transgender access is a deeply hurtful initiative
I’m very disappointed to see fellow Minnesotans introduce and support the anti-trans bathroom bill (HF 3396/SF 3002). A similar bill was recently vetoed by South Dakota’s governor because even he realized the potential public relations fallout that would occur if it were approved (it probably also helped that he talked to some actual transgender people who would be directly affected). Many of my fellow citizens in the state would be hurt deeply by this if it became law; being able to safely use a bathroom of one’s choosing is one of the most basic rights I can think of in a developed country. Trans people in general have higher rates of experiencing personal violence and murder, depression and suicide attempts (and successes); they are the ones who need more support. They are not the boogeymen that bills like these are trying to paint them as.
This bill does not solve a problem that currently exists — its only purpose in my mind is to further drive fear into people who aren’t trans and to make trans people even more fearful for their personal safety. I won’t even get into my fear about what the enforcement mechanism might be for a law like this — after all, you can’t tell someone is trans just by looking at them; only someone who is uninformed and probably a bigot would think that you can.
Anjanette Schussler, Minneapolis
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Regarding transgender rights to use the restroom or locker room of one’s own choice, Monica Meyer of OutFront Minnesota states: “Elected officials should be looking at policies that improve our state for all people.” While we know that in our increasingly fractured society politicians cannot possibly please everyone, they can at least do the math to benefit the greatest numbers of citizens possible. If one boy shares a locker room with 20 girls who are obviously uncomfortable, please do the math.
Don Keefe Jr., Plymouth
CULTURE OF PROTEST
I see caving. I see a breakdown of integrity and decency.
When did community groups and special-interest groups become the law and replace the courts and law enforcement? Why have grand juries become useless and racially suspicious? Students are allowed to hurt other students and teachers without fear of reprimand or punishment. Vocal groups are allowed to push and occupy and demand that no grand jury be used — and officials cave!
What is wrong with these pictures? I read the paper and watch the news every day, and I can’t figure out what all of these groups know that I don’t. I’m amazed that every time an incident takes place, phone cameras are everywhere, except when there is an agenda.
And what about the truth? Does anyone really care about it? I know there are honorable people out there who do. I want common decency, integrity and common sense back. How about you?
Cath Regan, Shakopee
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
In Hebda, archdiocese will have a wise and modest leader
Last December, I had the privilege of meeting Bernard Hebda, archibishop-designate of the Twin Cities archdiocese, as the Jewish and Catholic communities united to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate (“Acting archbishop becomes permanent, to his surprise,” March 25). Nostra Aetate is the Vatican declaration that, among other important facets, reset theologically and precipitated profoundly positive relations between Catholics and Jews and influenced Christians throughout the world. The archbishop-designate is wise, kind, modest, and gifted with wit and personally dedicated to interfaith relations. We are all very hopeful that Pope Francis has chosen well for our brothers and sisters in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in this Holy Week of 2016.
Steve Hunegs, Minneapolis
The writer is executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas.
Show of Green Bay loyalty at Target Field was wrong. Wrong!
I was so insulted that the March article about new safety netting at Target Field included a photograph of a man wearing a Green Bay hat. I was actually so angry I couldn’t read past the title. Nets being put up in our Minnesota stadium must be done by someone wearing a Minnesota hat or nothing at all. Signed, a disgusted reader.
Carrie Skagerberg, New Hope