Letters to the Editor for June 16

Congrats to graduates and all who support them

To the Editor:

My name is Jeff Simon, and as the Anoka-Hennepin School Board Member representing much of Coon Rapids and Southern Andover, I have had the privilege of witnessing firsthand the wonderful achievements of our District throughout the recent school year.

Our students are to be congratulated and honored for all of their hard work and achievements. College credits, academic honors, success in sports, music, theater, clubs, and so much more, our students took advantage of the opportunities that our community and district provides.

It was truly an honor to attend many graduations, senior recognitions, scholarship presentations, sporting events, music performances, plays, and other activities where students excelled. It was even more of a privilege to see families, friends, and the community watching these students with such love and pride.

It is very important to honor and thank parents, guardians, and family members of all students. You act as their primary educators, supporting your students each and every day. Their success starts with you, and you have done a wonderful job.

I wish everyone in our community could have the opportunity that I have had, to get to know and work with the exceptional individuals that make up the Anoka-Hennepin School District. The passion, expertise, and dedication that is shown by our teachers, school staff, building administration, volunteers, coaches, and central office staff/administrators each and every day is inspiring. There are not enough thanks for the difference that you make in all of our lives.

The Anoka-Hennepin School District is very fortunate to be located in this community, as so many residents and businesses provide leadership, mentorship, coaching, and jobs for our students. Your time, commitment, and caring for youth is greatly appreciated.

We are very lucky to live in such a great area, and I want to thank each person that has positively impacted our students.

I hope that you have a safe and restful summer season.

Jeff Simon
Anoka-Hennepin School Board

Incorrect conclusion perpetuates Islamaphobia

To the Editor:

This is in response to Ms. Anderson’s letter to the editor “Push for pro-Islamic changes.” Ms. Anderson does not mention what her source is for her statement that “all public school students in that school district (San Diego Unified School District) will be forced to take religious classes about Islam in social studies.” Upon conducting an online search I immediately found a San Diego Union-Tribune article responding to this incorrect conclusion. (The San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/7/17, “Islam, other religions already taught at San Diego Unified”).

As explained in this article, the San Diego Unified School District has a required world religion class as part of its curriculum. In this course students are taught about a variety of different religions including Christianity and Islam. All lessons within this curriculum are secular “and not about teaching a faith.” Instead students learn about other cultures and religions throughout history. Calling this curriculum “Islamic infiltration into America’s K-12 education system” is a gross mischaracterization!

As further rebuttal to Ms. Anderson’s letter I direct her to read Appendix E of the History-Social Science Framework written by the California State Board of Education on 7/14/16. I found this document rather quickly using the Google search terms “San Diego unified schools Islam.”

The following paragraph is from the document: “The history–social science classroom needs to be a place for the study of historical developments that includes understanding how religious beliefs and values affected historical figures. The overall goal is to build understanding and respect for the constitutionally protected rights that we as a nation have agreed to uphold in an effort to live peacefully and fairly despite our differences.”

I sincerely hope in the future that Ms. Anderson will more carefully vet such serious allegations prior to submitting them for publication.

Alyson Gullette
Andover

 

Fear of Islam growing

To the Editor:

Although President Trump’s executive order limiting travel from six predominantly Muslim majority countries faced severe criticism by many, some Americans still think that such a ban is necessary for their safety.

Americans’ fear of Muslims is growing and so are the hate crimes against them. Last year, anti-Muslim hate crimes surged 57 percent. A few days ago, a man chanting anti-Muslim slurs stabbed three men, two fatally, when they tried to dissuade him from harassing a Muslim teen and her friend in Portland. My own daughter who wears hijab was recently shouted at “don’t bomb our school” by a schoolmate.

Although, some self-proclaimed Muslims have committed heinous acts of terrorism in America, the vast majority of the victims of global terrorism are still Muslims. In fact, an American is seven times more likely to be killed by a white extremist than a Muslim terrorist according to Mother Jones’ mass-shooting record.

But why are some Americans still afraid of Islam?

A recent survey found that more than 6 in 10 Americans have seldom or never had a conversation with a Muslim and more than 80 percent either know a little or nothing at all about Islam.

In the absence of having a direct contact with any Muslim, my fellow Americans learn about Islam from the media, which unfortunately portrays terrorism as Jihad or Islamic holy war. Furthermore, sporadic news coming out of some Muslim-majority countries like women being stoned to death for adultery and young girls sprayed with acid for going to school leave an ordinary American with no choice but to develop a violent vision of Islam.

In reality, Quran categorically rejects all forms of terrorism and inhuman practices prevailing in some Muslim majority countries. In the spirit of justice, I request my fellow neighbors to learn true Islam from a Muslim and do a thorough and fair analysis before blaming Islamic ideology.

Imran Hayee
Nusrat Mosque

Hayee is a spokesperson for Nusrat Mosque at 11450 Robinson Dr., Coon Rapids, where he will moderate an open discussion on Islam 7-9 p.m. June 17. The event is open to public. For more information call 763-392-0281 or email [email protected].