To the Editor:
In the wake of Brigitte Gabriel’s speech, it is obvious that sincere concerns exist from those fearful for the future of America and those worried about intolerance and the civil rights of minorities.
Our communities are changing and will continue to change. As uncomfortable as it makes some middle Americans, predominately white and Christian, the idealized America they have held in their minds does not now exist, if it ever did. Economics, politics, war and cultural dynamics have altered demographics, even in central Minnesota.
It is no longer unusual to hear folks speaking Spanish in stores in Little Falls. With a large Muslim (and black) population in nearby St. Cloud, one can imagine the day when some of our neighbors will practice Islam and speak Somali. A few generations ago some Minnesotans spoke only German and read German language newspapers.
Gabriel’s presentation, which had no countervailing opinions, no fact checking, no audience questions, has started a discussion that should continue in our community with diverse opinions expressed and information exchanged with a respect for facts.
This interchange offers us an opportunity to build a truly diverse, tolerant and inclusive society, more representative of the highest ideals of Christians and Muslims. — Larry Fisk, Fort Ripley