|Ayaz Virji and his wife, Mussarrat|
(Post photo by Salwan Georges)
When Virji moved with his wife and three children from Harrisburg, Pa., "No one seemed to care that he was Muslim, of Indian descent, born in Kenya and raised in Florida. They just needed a good doctor," McCrummen writes. "He never thought Trump would win, much less in Dawson," which Barack Obama had carried twice. But Trump won the town by 6 percentage points and Lac qui Parle County in a landslide.
Virji was "shocked and angry . . . saying he hoped people realized that they just voted to put his family on a Muslim registry, and how would he be treated around here if he didn’t have M.D. after his name," McCrummen reports. He and his wife thought about leaving, but decided to stay, "and he tried to transform his anger into understanding." Then a patient asked him to talk about Islam at her Lutheran church, and 400 people came. In a county of 7,300. He won a semi-standing ovation.
|Virji spoke in Dawson (green dot), Montevideo (B)|
and Granite Falls, Minnesota. (Map Quest image)
McCrummen went with Virji to Granite Falls, pop. 2,900, the seat of Yellow Medicine County, pop. 12,500, which voted Republican in 2012 and 2016. She describes in great detail his preparation, thoughts and his presentation, which was angry at times. During the question time, one man said, "I hear a lot of pain from you this evening. . . . I'm sorry." Virji won applause, but as he arrived back in Dawson, "He still felt different, more and more like a stranger in a rural Midwestern town," McCrummen writes. "He didn’t want to feel that way. He hoped in time he wouldn’t. He turned onto Pine Street, and then he was home."