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I am a practicing Muslim, and I totally disagree with Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey's decision to allow all five of the calls to prayer to be broadcast in Minneapolis. I personally find the call to prayer to be very powerful, and it reminds me of my days growing up in a Muslim country. However, I think that the early morning and evening calls to prayer will disturb non-practicing Muslims or non-Muslims. I think that it is entirely inappropriate to foist this "noise" at such a time on people who have no affinity to such a thing and who will be disturbed and annoyed by it. It will just lead to negative feelings about the faith of Islam. I don't think we need any more of that.

The Holy Qur'an teaches Muslims to respect others and their faiths and cultural conventions. The disruption to the local non-Muslim community will be unwelcome and is unnecessary. The call to prayer was established by the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) at a time when people had no way to tell time and personally determine the time for prayer. Nowadays, there is no need for such loud reminders when alarm clocks and related apps are available to all. I suspect that we will soon see a lawsuit, that will not only create bad feelings across religious lines but will also soon put an end to this new policy as being unacceptable to the community we live in.

Anwar H. Bhimani, Plymouth


I was impressed, waking up in the morning, to see two people write to the Star Tribune with opinions that are both overwhelmingly opposite from each other over the public permittance of Muslim calls to prayer in Minneapolis (Readers Write, April 17).

One aspect of the provisions passed by the Minneapolis City Council and signed by the mayor should be highlighted: that as far as I'm aware, a decibel noise ceiling remains in place for mosques reciting the adhan at early or late hours, and has been in place since a truncated number of the calls was first permitted by the city last year. The calls are also limited to 6 minutes of time on an amplified public speaker.

There. The noise is not supposed to be unduly loud, per city law. If it is too loud, any resident has the right to complain, and hopefully not frivolously. Further criticism amounts to insisting that the hours of 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. are off-limits to any audible public displays of religion, a claim that would not pass muster in any court in America, let alone to the minds of most Americans.

As an aside, and as an atheist myself, it is frustrating to see advocacy for secularism become a vehicle for grouchy, Dawkins-esque ramblings. There are enough religiously motivated attacks on bodily integrity, LGBTQ folks and school curricula across the country to sustain everyone's anger as it stands. The last thing I am going to care about is whether I hear a distant loudspeaker in Arabic at 5 in the morning before my morning coffee. If you find yourself pining for thicker walls, wish for thicker skin instead.

Chance Chapman, Minneapolis


The perspective you won't get from Katherine Kersten

I am a former Minnesota student. My Catholic education at Cretin-Derham Hall high school and St. Catherine University first introduced me to a social-justice education. I doubt that the ordained clergy and nuns knew that the social-justice curriculum was a "vehicle for manipulating young people." ("Legislature is planning an 'antiracist' revolution in schools," Opinion Exchange, April 19.) Anti-racist and social-justice education taught me to have moral courage to speak out when my fellow neighbor faced harm.

I am a Minnesota ethnic-studies professor. Commentary writer Katherine Kersten's ill-informed understanding of the academic discipline, ethnic studies does not create a mob mentality. It fosters engaged citizenship. My students at the University of Minnesota who are pre-med, pre-law, going into business or even engaged in mortuary studies gain valuable 21st-century skills in my ethnic-studies classroom. They learn how to have empathy and how to problem-solve when multiple truths exist. They learn that issues require innovation and nuanced understanding. They learn valuable critical thinking, verbal and oral communication skills. Research studies show that students who understand their own history and identity through ethnic studies perform academically better in all other subjects.

I am a Minnesota parent. As a mother, I want my children to have access to ethnic-studies education in K-12 to learn about their heritage. Knowing their families' histories as German settler colonialists, Mexican immigrants and African Americans will teach my children about their ancestors' experiences and contributions to this nation. Ethnic studies is not about division. Ethnic studies builds solidarity across differences for a better Minnesota.

Jessica Lopez Lyman, Roseville


I thank the Star Tribune for its commitment to providing viewpoints from various perspectives. Case in point: Kersten's April 19 article, in which she provides her perspectives on how racism and CSJ (critical social justice) are proposed to be taught in Minnesota's public schools.

Kersten has submitted many articles over the years, and I've noticed two things she consistently does. (1) She's very consistent with her criticism of any proposal or action she believes originated from the left. Nothing wrong with that. She's connected with a conservative thinking organization that provides conservative opinions. (2) She's very consistent with not providing solutions, and with all due respect, her solution to "craft a fruitful outcome" in her April 19 article lacked substance.

In my humble opinion, unless they're going to offer solutions for their complaints, I suggest the senior policy fellows of the world disseminate their views and positions through the organizations they're affiliated with. There's a lot of work to be done to improve the social fabric here and around the world, and if you're not willing nor able to do any "heavy lifting" toward workable and viable solutions, you may want to rethink why your opinion matters.

Steve Ettel, Golden Valley


How the union is actually funded

Minnesota's low ranking in the number of children who can read at grade level is very discouraging. On that, I can agree with an April 18 letter writer. However, his statement about where the money appropriated by the Legislature for education goes is completely false. It does not get sent to the teachers union. Education Minnesota is funded strictly by teachers who choose to join, paying union dues.

The letter writer further states that the union uses the Legislative funds to invest in the Democratic Party. This, too, is patently false. When teachers join Education Minnesota, in addition to paying dues, they can choose whether or not to contribute to the Political Action Committee, a branch of the union that funds political activism related to education, not based on party affiliation.

Yes, we need to make further efforts to improve reading scores, but let's keep the facts straight about where legislative funds go and how teachers unions are funded.

Mary Berg, Apple Valley