The first town in America with a Muslim Majority city council is now making it’s first laws, and it seems residents’ fears of Sharia Law may be merited after all.
While the members of the Hamtramck, Michigan city council have denied that they would put religion into politics, their actions show otherwise. They’ve already banned alcohol sales within 500 feet of local mosques, and allowed daily calls to prayer to reverberate through town as early as 6am.
As both measures are intrinsically related to Islam, its hard to see how they’ve come to the conclusion that their actions are somehow non-religious in nature.
Rather, it seems as if they simply don’t care. As the town’s Polish population shrinks, the Muslim majority seems more than willing to institutionalize their religious beliefs in order to push the rest out.
Hamtramck, Michigan recently became the first town in America with a Muslim-majority city council, and their actions are causing concern among the town’s non-Muslims.
[Mayor] Majewski, whose family emigrated from Poland in the early 20th century, admitted to a few concerns of her own. Business owners within 500 feet of one of Hamtramck’s four mosques can’t obtain a liquor license, she complained, a notable development in a place that flouted Prohibition-era laws by openly operating bars. The restrictions could thwart efforts to create an entertainment hub downtown, said the pro-commerce mayor.
And while Majewski advocated to allow mosques to issue calls to prayer, she understands why some longtime residents are struggling to adjust to the sound that echos through the city’s streets five times each day.
“There’s definitely a strong feeling that Muslims are the other,” she said. “It’s about culture, what kind of place Hamtramck will become. There’s definitely a fear, and to some degree, I share it.”
Saad Almasmari, a 28-year-old from Yemen who became the fourth Muslim elected to the six-member city council this month, doesn’t understand that fear.
Almasmari, the owner of an ice cream company who campaigned on building Hamtramck’s struggling economy and improving the public schools, said he is frustrated that so many residents expect the council’s Muslim members to be biased. He spent months campaigning everywhere in town, knocking on the doors of mosques and churches alike, he said.
“I don’t know why people keep putting religion into politics,” said Almasmari, who received the highest percentage of votes
(22 percent) of any candidate. “When we asked for votes, we didn’t ask what their religion was.”
They may not have asked for the religious views of their voters, but their actions as legislators make their religion more than clear. They’re taking the first steps to solidify their Muslim belief into local law, and no one has the power to stop them.