A Detroit suburb with a history as a Polish enclave is making history of a different kind.
After elections on Tuesday, Hamtramck, Michigan, is set to become what is likely the first municipality in the country where every elected governing official is of the Muslim faith, according to the Detroit Free Press.
On Tuesday, Hamtramck voters elected three Muslims to its City Council to join the three Muslims already serving. Voters also elected Amer Ghalib, 42, a Muslim, as mayor, the Free Press reported.
The council will now have three members of Yemeni descent, two whose roots are in Bangladesh and one who is of Eastern European heritage who converted to Islam.
Councilman Mohammed Hassan said the council will govern for all.
“Religion is not inside the (City Hall) building,” Hassan said. “It’s outside in the mosque and temple and the church. Not in City Hall.”
Hassan added that “nothing will change in council, we remain the same.”
“We respect all the religions,” Hassan said. “Inside the City Hall, we are responsible for the residents … we do our responsibility by the book.”
Amanda Jaczkowski, who was elected last week, said the city’s government will serve all the people.
“We will all take an oath … to protect the Constitution of the United States, and that includes the concept of separation of church and state. I believe strongly in that separation, and although I will bring the Islamic values of honesty and integrity to the table, the policies that I promote and affirm will be what is best for all people of Hamtramck,” she said.
Mayor Karen Majewski, who lost her bid for a fifth term, said she will work with the new leadership of the city.
“I’ve always cautioned people to not think about Islam as a monolith,” Majewski said.
“Remember that people come from different traditions within a shared religion. Individuals are different, too. They come with different experiences, different interpretations of their faith and different priorities. I would always caution people against creating a monolith in their minds about any religion,” she said.
Majewski and Ghalib have differed over LGBTQ issues: She supports flying the LGBTQ flag outside City Hall. He does not
Ghalib has said he is not opposed to any group based on the tenets of his faith.
“People think because of my background and my religious beliefs that I will be anti-LGBT or something, but we are in America,” he said.
“This is how democracy works, right?” Ghalib said. “You have to think about your constituents and what they would say. You don’t want to lose some people’s support.”
Amer Ghalib ousts Karen Majewski, becoming Hamtramck's first Muslim mayor. A Yemeni immigrant, will be the new mayor of Hamtramck after nearly 100 years of Polish mayors. #Yemen #ArabAmerican #Michigan #Hamtramck #MichiganElection #Election2021 🇾🇪🇺🇸 ألف مبروك د. أمير غالب حيدرة pic.twitter.com/6I7XdY5sCG
— 〽️אריאל Areel AL-Lami (@AreelUS) November 3, 2021
Adam Albarmaki, an immigrant from Yemen elected last week, said there will be no favoritism.
“I owe it to the people of Hamtramck, and my loyalty to them will remain intact,” he said. “Make no mistake, I do not represent the interest of a certain group over another. I will work diligently to ensure that the best interest of Hamtramckans is attained.”