The American-News welcomes letters of opinion from our readers.

The American-News welcomes letters of opinion from our readers. Letters regarding current local and national news items are encouraged. All letters are subject to editing for length and style. Letters containing potentially libelous or obscene statements will not be published. Letters must contain name, address and phone number for verification and in case of questions. E-mail letters to: Letters may also be mailed to:  Editor, Montevideo Publishing, P.O. Box 99, Montevideo, MN 56265


While this is a letter to the editor, it is more of an open letter to Maya, Imran, Faisal, Musarrat and Dr. Ayaz Virji.

I am a seventy-eight-year-old male protestant of English, Irish and Scottish descent. My mother was an immigrant and my grandparents on my father’s side were immigrants. My friend Karen is an American Indian, the only person I know well who truly has no history of family immigrant status. Another friend is a Pakistani American Muslim married to an Indian American Muslim who, the last time I talked serious politics with about three years ago, was a strong Republican. In almost another life I lived in Montevideo. During my twenty-three years in Monte I knew many people there as well as in Dawson, Granite Falls and other surrounding communities. They were wonderful, hard working patriotic Americans. Many people, often through their churches, welcomed and supported Vietnam refugees. Folks reached out to each other in times of need with lots of kindness and compassion.

Please know that any hurtful experiences you had in Montevideo and other communities was not in keeping with the spirit of goodwill the people have traditionally extended to strangers or new members of their communities.

Now for the essence of my message to Dr. Virji and his family. People are afraid. Whipped into their fears by irrational retoric fanned by political ambitions. They do not understand that their behaviors may be adverse to what you, Dr. Virji, know so well, “first do no harm.” Historically we have persecuted immigrants such as the Irish, Japanese, Germans and Jews. Our current treatment of African Americans, Hispanics, and other minorities is often abhorrent. This record is indefensible and without justification. Please do not give up on us rural Christian Americans. I am not a theologian, but I know Islam and Christianity both teach love, peace and tolerance, the greatest of which is love. Thank you for coming to rural America. Thank you for serving our ill and diseased. Thank you for the lives you have saved. Thank you for your willingness to share and demonstrate diversity with your presence.

We love you for what you do for us and who you are - fellow Americans.

—Glen D. Shaw, Ph.D.

Dent, MN