Letters to the Editor for Aug. 4, 2017

Letter writer was holding back

To the Editor:

Ms. Bonnie Nelson (July 21, Name calling and false accusations) takes me to task for my latest attack on Ms. Barb Anderson’s credibility (June 30, Fear-mongering at heart of letter).

Ms. Nelson comments that “Anoka and the surrounding areas welcome factual reporting and learning the truth about radical Islam.” I agree. Alas, Ms. Anderson presents no information on either “peace-loving” or “radical” Islam. None.

She uses terms like “infiltrate,” “shocking,” and “forced.” “This is a warning Minnesota. CAIR is pushing forward…” But she never explains why her concern is appropriate. We’re left to rely on her credibility. Sorry, but that isn’t good enough. I’ve fact-checked too many of her letters.

Astonishingly, she presents no evidence that the information in the San Diego classes is inaccurate or misleading or in any way inappropriate. None. Her letter is therefore worse than pointless.

It appears to me that the class is an effort to understand and contextualize Islam. That process necessarily makes it less scary. It sounds like a wonderful project. It may even serve as a template for students to examine other religions or groups of people without prejudgment or hysterical over-reaction. I support the class 100 percent.

In summary, most of Ms. Anderson’s letters are toxic, factually-challenged attacks on people she deems religiously unacceptable. This one is no different.

A citizenry unconcerned about accuracy, personal responsibility, and empathy is a vastly greater threat to American security and governance than radical Islam. Frankly, Ms. Nelson, I could have used adjectives far stronger than “venomous.” I was holding back.

Rod Kuehn


Concerns over Hy-Vee development in Spring Lake Park

To the Editor:

The City of Spring Lake Park is moving forward with a plan to put a Hy-Vee store in on Highway 65 and 81st Street.

Here are the plans:


I have joined other residents in expressing concerns about the increased traffic at an already overly busy intersection. There is not much room to widen 81st – and Hy-Vee is already asking for concessions to build closer to our streets and have more parking spaces than our zoning will allow.

They even made the not-so-veiled threat that if they don’t get all of their requested parking spaces, they will not build here.

They also said they will not build unless they can take over our liquor store, that is expected to reduce our taxes by an estimated $100,000 this year.

However, in a recent project they did allow the city of Savage to retain their liquor store, and are working with the city of Robbinsdale to retain their liquor store.

Will our City Council and Planning Commission cave in to every demand because we are desperate to have a store built?

I actually like Hy-Vee – it is a great store with a tremendous reputation.

But, I don’t like being surprised by decisions being made behind closed doors.

The planning commission and city council has not done much to let us know in advance about the details of the project (especially eliminating the liquor store) – just the minimum to legally meet requirements.

The planning commission said citizens can come to a future council meeting and express concerns.

However, it seems the decision has already been made and we will have a Hy-Vee no matter what.

I just want all of our citizens to know what is happening, especially since I was recently told by a fellow resident that I am just supposed to trust my elected officials.

I would trust them more if they were more transparent on what they are doing.

Whether you want Hy-Vee to build there – or not, Spring Lake Park citizens deserve to know the facts and contact their city officials at http://www.slpmn.org/your-government.html.

Jill Kaspszak

Spring Lake Park

Muslims make global impact close to ‘home’

To the Editor:

Thank you for the Blaine/Spring Lake Park Life article on “Muslims make a global impact close to home” in the July 14 edition. To the savvy reader though it comes across as overarching pandering to the Muslims and Somalians in the photo, although “teaching sign language to Muslims” by the AlMaghrib Impact Muslim Group impacts us immensely.

I missed the paper’s article praising Somalian Muslims leeching off the system, for the vehicles gifted to them by the overburdened U.S. taxpayer (e.g., https://www.acf.hhs.gov/orr/programs/ida ). Or I missed the article on the over 75 percent of Supplemental Security Income for Refugees and Asylees recipients for 10 years (seven years plus extensions of two and one year) who fled the war in Somalia that take our tax dollars to Somalia for vacation (while Governor Dayton makes taxpayers pay their Section 8 rent on those vacations).

An article outlining the burden to society by some Muslims would be welcome. And certainly the taxpaying Lebanese pastry (very tasty) shop owners on Detroit’s Schaefer Highway are not what I’m alluding to and similar Americans, I mean the non-assimilating Muslim influx into Minneapolis today. I help the homeless tirelessly here and in the Philippines, give me a break. Sorry to state it, but truth is truth, and the lack of truth is disheartening.

Phil Applegate


  • Tom Koop

    Response to: Letter writer was holding back

    Excluding others due to their religion, or nonreligion, has been around since, “forever.” I’ve was judged as a “heathen” due to my years out of out control drug “addiction/alcoholism.” Stigma or Stigmata? Labels hurt.
    Because evangelicals are praying for that “evil man” in our White House, and laying their hands upon him, will he change? Will ole “Wise Guy Donald J. Trump” stop being what the religious loath? No. Will “cutting down others” and “classifying them as heathens” in the name of religion stop? No.
    Right wing political types tend to be grandiose and very judgmental. “Selah.”

  • RodKuehn

    I see a Muslim community center was bombed, yesterday (http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/feds-investigate-explosion-shook-bloomington-minnesota-mosque-n789891).

    Since 9/11, Muslim terrorists have been a minor homeland problem compared to our homegrown “jihadists.” ““Law enforcement agencies in the United States consider anti-government violent extremists, not radicalized Muslims, to be the most severe threat of political violence that they face,” the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security reported this past June, based on surveys of 382 law enforcement groups.”

    “According to Arie Perliger, director of terrorism studies at the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, the three ideologies within the violent American far-right are racist, anti-federalist and fundamentalist. … The fundamentalists are primarily Christian identity groups that believe the biblical war of good vs. evil is between descendants of Anglo-Saxon nations and all other ethnic groups. Tangential to the fundamentalists are the anti-abortion attackers, who also invoke religion as a foundational motive for their violence.” (http://www.newsweek.com/2016/02/12/right-wing-extremists-militants-bigger-threat-america-isis-jihadists-422743.html)

    The problem isn’t religion per se. People who are not under pressure and exhibit normal empathy tend to discard the violence in their respective holy books. Somebody has to whip them into a frenzy. Killing does not come easily, whatever their official doctrines may say.

    The question is, how do we arrange society to bring out the best in ourselves and our neighbors? How do we isolate those looking to draw blood? Our framers did their best with the First Amendment’s call to respect each person’s right to their own conscience, to their own religious views. Ms. Anderson’s views represent a direct assault on this principle.

  • RodKuehn

    Even Pope Francis is concerned about the deterioration of respect for each other.

    “Two close associates of Pope Francis have accused American Catholic ultraconservatives of making an alliance of “hate” with evangelical Christians to back President Trump, further alienating a group already out of the Vatican’s good graces.

    The authors, writing in a Vatican-vetted journal, singled out Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, as a “supporter of an apocalyptic geopolitics” that has stymied action against climate change and exploited fears of migrants and Muslims with calls for “walls and purifying deportations.”

    The article warns that conservative American Catholics have strayed dangerously into the deepening political polarization in the United States. The writers even declare that the worldview of American evangelical and hard-line Catholics, which is based on a literal interpretation of the Bible, is “not too far apart’’ from jihadists.”