December 2009 Letters to the Editor
Notes from readers regarding the last issues of Minnesota Monthly
Shelby on the Radio
I enjoyed your story on Don Shelby (“The Last Don,” November). I suppose most people in the metro know him from WCCO-TV, but for those of us in southwestern Minnesota who don’t have access to Twin Cities stations, WCCO Radio is our connect. I was disappointed Tim Gihring did not address this aspect of Shelby’s career. Actually, radio suits him better: Shelby is able to pursue issues in depth and engage the listener, and yes, share his expertise and intellect (which, according to the article, some people do not appreciate). Unfortunately, I no longer get to listen to Shelby on my commute home, even though his replacement, Michele Tafoya, didn’t really “replace” him.
Vince Flynn and CAIR
In the interview with Vince Flynn (“License to Thrill,” October), Flynn makes some stereotypical statements misrepresenting CAIR, Islam, and Muslims:
“I usually go out of my way in the books to point out that I’m talking about a sect within Islam. But I get pretty whipped up about CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations. They will never admit fault at anything, and I think Islam is deserving of a lot of criticism right now. They don’t allow women to be clergy; women have to sit in the back of the mosque or a separate mosque entirely…. Islam needs to learn to start to take a little more criticism. What they need is reformation. They’ve got to bring this thing into the new millennium.”
Such inflammatory comments in a legitimate publication spread the type of fear and misunderstanding that breeds hate against Muslims. Nationally, hate crimes against American Muslims have steadily risen since 9/11. CAIR-MN, a local civil-rights organization, regularly receives cases in which Muslims, and those perceived to be Muslim, are victims of discrimination, bias and hate crimes.
Flynn has a right to express his opinions, however ill informed they may be. The issue here isn’t Flynn and his opinions. The issue here is that, as a responsible publication, Minnesota Monthly has an obligation to provide its readers fair and balanced coverage. I urge you to do a story on Islam and Muslims in Minnesota.
A. Lori Saroya
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