Hamtramck is a small settlement of 28,000 residents in Detroit. It is commonly known as Little Warsaw and for the Polish Immigrants, it has been a distant place. A diverse place where more than two dozen languages are spoken. If we say it is ‘a small world within two square miles’, it won’t be wrong. Now there are Arab- American Residents. It is the first US city to have an all-Muslim council in the US. Amer Ghalib, the Yemeni-born American, was sworn in as the first Muslim mayor.
He said, “I feel proud and I feel a big responsibility and this is why we have to work very hard to prove that we, like immigrants, can work and succeed in managerial, public service, and political fields in this country.” He is the first non-Polish mayor after 100 years. It is a historical achievement for Hamtramck. “There is no difference because we are all bound by the city regulations and the country’s constitution, with laws and regulations that we cannot violate. All religions promote virtue and our noble Islam promotes doing good and abandoning evil and respecting others and treating them well.” This would be a fine example of Arab, Muslim, and immigrant representation at Hamtramck’s city hall. It will also be a positive gesture for people of different beliefs who can come forward and participate in the betterment of the council.
The city council consists of six members, out of which five are Arab-American. The member Amanda Jaczkowski is the US councilwoman, who converted to Islam. She said, “We were the qualified candidates. We were the ones who have the most voice for the community that elected us because they trust us to represent what they need from the city.”
Hamtramck has seen many phases. The Polish immigrants then moved on to the Detroit suburbs as the city was dying. It got replaced by the Arabs, Bangladeshis who made this city alive again. It is a blend of different cultures and religions coming together, adding to the diversity of the city. Islamophobia is in the air; it might face backlash but the mayor assures that the affairs will stay the way they are. They will put in efforts to develop city infrastructure with a commitment to serve its people. Ghalib thinks that his win will inspire and motivate the youth, “And I think it inspired many of the youth to go for this field and made them confident in themselves and of their abilities and that they have become an inseparable part of the fabric of this society”.
It is noteworthy that in places where there is inclusivity, they tend to progress and flourish more than places that are hesitant to accept each other. This might open channels for other communities to come forward and join hands to make the world a better place.