Hamtramck, Michigan is the first city in America with a majority Muslim population. According to the Washington Post, the population finally got up the numbers to put their people into city and local government.
Hamtramck has been, for decades, a town of Polish immigrants.
Right after the Nov. 3 election, community organizer Ibrahim Algahim expressed glee that the immigrants who had built the town up were no longer in power. “Today, we show the Polish and everybody else,” he said.
And show them, they did. It’s now illegal to serve alcohol within 500 feet of a mosque in Hamtramck, which is surrounded by Detroit and is the most densely populated town in Michigan with a population of 22,000.
And this in a town, according to the Washington Post, that openly flaunted prohibition by keeping bars open.
However, according to one of the men on the city council, Saam Almasmari, it’s not their fault.
“I don’t know why people keep putting religion into politics,” said Almasari, the highest vote-getter in November’s election. “When we asked for votes, we didn’t ask what their religion was.”
The Washington Post describes the city as “row after row of two-story, turn-of-the-century bungalows packed into two square miles.” After manufacturing jobs left, as with the rest of the Michigan, property values in the town plummeted, which led to massive demographic shifts. Now, 27 languages are spoken in Hamtramck’s schools.
“The Polish people think we were invading them,” said Masud Khan, a leader of the town’s al-Islah Islamic Center. “We were a big threat to their religion and culture. Now their days are gone.”