On Nov. 12, my family and I were featured in an article in the Star Tribune on the success of families who have moved to Habitat for Humanity houses in conjunction with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity and Wilder Research (“In Habitat homes, families blossoming.”) The article highlighted the success of Habitat for Humanity.
Boy, the response from Star Tribune readers — on Facebook and on the paper’s website — was swift, fast and furious, with all of the negative and hateful comments directed toward me and my family. They questioned our American nationality and often referred to us being “immigrants.” Yet my wife is a fifth-generation, native-born Minnesotan and I am a citizen of 12 years. No doubt, the reason they kept calling my wife an immigrant is because she was wearing hijab or a headscarf. One comment said, “Please take off the burqa and don’t allow your husband to dictate your life and harass you And why are these immigrants getting all of this free housing while Americans are suffering?”
I don’t think this awful name-calling would have happened had we had American-sounding names. We have always considered ourselves American, by any measure, and have been good citizens, paying our fair share of taxes and volunteering in our community.
But my faith as a Minnesotan is shaken. I have been calling Minnesota my home for the last 17 years, and my kids were born right here in Minneapolis. My take from the readers is that “you don’t belong here in America.” I hope, my fellow Minnesotans (in the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.), that one day my kids “will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
Abdi Mohamed, Minneapolis.
OBAMA AND ISIL
President isn’t really acting like he wants to win this war
In Tuesday’s editorial (“New strategy needed in fight against ISIL”), the editors rightly stated that we are in a war against ISIL, that we must win and that the president’s strategy in regards to ISIL must change. All of this is true. Yet during a news conference on Monday, President Obama said the following: “What I’m not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of ‘American leadership’ or ‘America winning.’ ” In light of this, as well as Tuesday’s editorial, the natural question that arises is this: Does our president wish to defeat ISIL? If not, why? If so, why isn’t he acting like it?
Jonathan Schultz, Bloomington
For starters, compare migrants with the millions on tourist visas
Can we please start dealing with facts and not with mass hysteria?
Fact: Almost 10 million tourist visas were issued in 2014. Tourist visas are given with very little vetting. Yet people are totally apoplectic about 10,000 Syrian refugees who receive extensive vetting. I’d be a bit more worried about the 10 million who don’t get vetted than those who get strong vetting.
Fact: There are an estimated 2.9 million Muslims in the U.S. Yet all over the Internet, we see total hatred for all Muslims. Well, guess what? The terrorists want the average American to turn against all Muslims so they can recruit from those 2.9 million Americans. Then they don’t have to worry about “planting” terrorists among the 10,000 refugees.
Fact: The attacks in France were carried out by French and Belgian citizens. They weren’t carried out by Syrian refugees or people “brought” into France. Homegrown terrorists. See the fact immediately above this one.
Tom Krueger, Crystal
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As a Jew, I sympathize with the Syrian refugees seeking asylum in the U.S. In 1939, hundreds of European Jews attempting to escape Nazi persecution sailed to the shores of the U.S. off the coast of Florida. Despite pleas to President Roosevelt, the ship was not even allowed to dock. The refugees were turned back to Europe and most died in concentration camps. This was a shameful event in our history that must not be repeated, and likely would not be if people in the U.S. had confidence in the Obama administration’s ability and willingness to properly vet the people seeking to enter, to ensure that terrorists are not infiltrating the refugees. Unfortunately, the president’s accusation that politics is driving the concern for safety suggests that the vetting process will be less than robust. The president should recognize that the people he is criticizing for their concern do not live in the 24-hour-a-day protective bubble that he and his family enjoy and will continue to enjoy throughout their lives.
Ronald Haskvitz, St. Louis Park
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Instead of fighting hatred and terrorism with hatred ourselves, why don’t we open ourselves up and use kindness, understanding and acceptance? Why not make refugees feel welcome and make them feel at home in the U.S. so that they can feel pride in our country and help us protect it as well? Why make more enemies when we can save lives that could in turn go on to save more lives as educated members of society, such as doctors, soldiers, scientists, police officers, teachers and so many more professions?
Megan Levitt, Eden Prairie
RECOGNITION FOR 9/11
At the U, it’s a simple statement, and a simple apology is in order
Last week, the University of Minnesota Student Association (MSA) rejected a resolution calling for a simple “moment of recognition” for the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 (“U students vote down 9/11 event,” Nov. 18). I just graduated in May, and in college I spent four years on the Student Association, including a year as the CFO.
This is an incredibly unnecessary step taken to prevent students from feeling marginalized. If you take a look at the resolution, it isn’t complicated. All anyone asked for is a simple bit of remembrance for those who lost their lives. Students who voted against the resolution ought to be ashamed, and the MSA should offer a public apology to anyone from or associated with the university who was affected by the attacks. This is simply unacceptable.
Quinn Jurgens, Minneapolis
LESSONS FROM ROLFIE
Readers, why not ‘adopt’ someone in a care facility?
I was deeply moved by the poignant Nov. 16 counterpoint about the life and death of Rolf, a man with Down syndrome (“For Rolfie, group home workers were family”).
Over the years, I have befriended a number of residents in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. My letters to some may be sporadic, but I never fail to send them holiday cards, including greetings for Valentine’s Day and Halloween. When I am pressed for time and can stay only briefly, I am still thanked, without fail, for having stopped by. (A number of people have relatives nearby, but their visits are infrequent.) Despite the staff’s low pay, the heavy workload and having to deal with some extreme cases, I have encountered only caring, helpful employees. I would like to encourage readers to adopt one or more people in a care home. The staff will help in finding a match. I receive more than I give!
R.M. Hall, Burnsville