The right-wing is furious that SLO Tribune would feature our local, peaceful Muslim community in their July 4 newspaper. They’ve described the feature as a “celebration of Islam.” The implication is that featuring Muslims in a local newspaper on Independence Day is an affront to patriotism and what makes our country great — though intolerance is clearly not greatness.

There are different kinds of patriotism. There is patriotism that is rooted in one’s love and appreciation for the country and the honorable sacrifices our men and women in uniform made to preserve our independence. Patriotism also comes from appreciating people from diverse backgrounds and religions; our openness and acceptance of the melting pot is also worth celebrating.

Aaron Ochs is a columnist, marketing entrepreneur and founder of SLO Truth. Ochs is also involved in his community as founder of Save Morro Bay (

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