History is in the making as America’s first all-Muslim government is set to be officially inaugurated today (2nd January) in Hamtramck, Michigan.
Three Muslim candidates, Khalil Refai, Amanda Jaczkowski and Adam Albarmaki, joined the other three current members of the city council after they were elected into office by the public. Not only that but Hamtramck also elected its first Muslim mayor as the final cherry on top of the cake. Amer Ghalib, a 42-year-old immigrant from Yemen, also made history after becoming the first Yemini-American mayor to take office in the city. He beat out former mayor, Karen Majewski to secure the victory.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Ghalib said his job as a certified nurse practitioner at the local clinic in the city enabled him to serve the community and build strong relationships with people.
“My message was inclusive, people needed a change, and I proved to them throughout my campaign that I am the one who can do it,” he said. “I also understand that it is a big responsibility, and we have to work hard to succeed.”
The Muslim Public Affairs Council, a national advocacy and public policy organisation, confirmed that this is the first and only city in the entire country that has ever had an all-Muslim board, including a mayor.
Members of the newly elected government spoke to the Detroit Free Press, saying that despite their openness about their faith, they will not base their decisions on it.
“It’s important to remember that although we all happen to be practising Muslims, we are elected through the processes set forth by the United States, Michigan, Wayne County and Hamtramck,” Jaczkowski said. “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.”
Albarmaki also told the outlet: “I owe it to the people of Hamtramck, and my loyalty to them will remain intact. 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.”
The small city in Michigan is estimated to have a population of approximately 29,000, half of which are reported to identify as Muslim. Over time, Hamtramck became home to many different ethnicities including South Asian, Arab and Polish-Americans as well as a whole array of religions including Buddhists, Hindus and Christians.
We hope to see more Muslim leaders take up positions that better reflect the society we live in. Congratulations to all the new members of the Hamtramck City Council!