Love Thy Neighbor: A Muslim Doctor's Struggle for Home in Rural America
- McEntyre, Marilyn
- Date of entry: Oct-28-2019
Responding to a shortage of doctors in rural areas in 2013, Dr. Virji, a Muslim, moved from the urban East coast to a small town in Minnesota. Welcomed at first, he and his family began, after Trump's election in 2016, to experience withdrawal, suspicion, and outright racism in his own and neighboring towns, despite having established solid, trusting relationships with patients. His children were being ostracized in school. Discouraged, he took steps to accept a job in Dubai, but changed his mind after a local pastor invited him to speak in her church to correct common misconceptions about Muslims and to engage his neighbors in deeper dialogue about their differences and commonalities. The lecture was so successful, he took it further into other towns and parts of the country. He has stayed in Minnesota and witnessed change because of this invitation and his candid, open-hearted response.