In Hamtramck, a city in Michigan with a population of 22,000 people, citizens elected the first Muslim-majority city council in the history of the United States, says The Express Tribune.
Could this be just the beginning of a phenomenon?
“What took place in Hamtramck is a very American endeavour. It’s only a matter of time before we’ll see a Muslim mayor.”, stated Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, according to the same source. Now, four of six council members are Muslim. Saad Almasmari, 28-year-old, a Yemen native, is one of the new members of the Muslim-majority city council.
“Although we are Muslims, it doesn’t have anything to do with serving the community. It’s not about religion. It’s not about Muslim unity. We are planning to work for everyone.”, said Almasmari. The 28-year-old was elected with the most percentage of votes, 22%, but the campaign for the election didn’t went as smooth as you’d think. Nearly half of his signs were spray painted with an X, as opposition didn’t want a Muslim-majority city council.
The Muslim communities are growing strong
University of Michigan-Dearborn associate professor Sally Howell wrote a book on Michigan and US Muslims and according to him, about 50 per cent of the people in Hamtramck are Muslims and the city has at least seven mosques, more mosques per person than anywhere else in the U.S. “Growth is taking place in these Muslim communities, and they are transforming the city scape. It’s become much more visible in the last 15 years,”, said Howell, quoted by The Express Tribune.
A 2004 story in Detroit News says that Hamtramck let mosques spread the call to prayer onto city streets making it one of the few places in the United States to approve the practice. Hamtramck’s muslim population is made up of immigrants especially from Yemen, Bangladesh and Bosnia-Herzegovina.