Muslim-led Michigan city bans Pride flags after heated council meeting

Muslim-led Michigan city bans Pride flags after heated council meetingMuslim-led Michigan city bans Pride flags after heated council meeting
via Forbes Breaking News
LGBTQ+ supporters expressed disappointment after the all-Muslim Hamtramck City Council passed legislation prohibiting the flying of Pride flags on city-owned properties. 
Neutrality flag: On June 13, city officials unanimously approved a resolution sponsored by City Councilman Mohammed Hassan called a “Resolution to Maintain and Confirm the Neutrality Of the City of Hamtramck Towards Its Residents.”
The “neutrality flag resolution,” which restricts the display of religious, ethnic, racial, and political flags, emphasizes that the city will not provide “special treatment” to any particular group.
Its critics, however, view the legislation’s passing as choosing bigotry over inclusivity.
Long, heated debate: The decision followed an impassioned discussion that lasted over three hours, with dozens of supporters and opponents voicing their opinions about the proposal during Hamtramck, Michigan’s City Council meeting.

In her public comment, Rose Carver mocked the city’s claims of diversity by wearing a clown nose and holding up a sign that read, “Hamtramck welcomes you if you’re straight.”

Sure, many Hamtramck residents have fled countries where being gay is a death sentence, but nothing says we have to make it comforting and welcoming here. While we can’t legally discriminate against LGBTQ people in the United States anymore, the City of Hamtramck can say, “Ew, no, be proud somewhere else.”

Hassan Aoun, an activist from Dearborn, rejected the notion of displaying Pride flags on city property.
“I am a Lebanese person, and I support the American flag,” he said. “We are not going to sit here and tolerate you guys coming in here and saying, ‘Oh, it’s Pride Month.’ If you’re gay, no problem. Be gay by yourself. Don’t sit here and throw it down my throat or anyone’s throat.”
In her defense of the ban, City Councilman Nayeem Choudhury stated that the legislation was meant to “respect the religious rights of our citizens.”

You guys are welcome. … (but) why do you have to have the flag shown on government property to be represented? You’re already represented. We already know who you are. … By making this (about) bigotry … it’s making it like you want to hate us.

Michigan lawmakers’ reactions: Among the elected Michigan officials that criticized the legislation include state Sen. Stephanie Chang (D, MI-3), U.S. Rep. Shri Thanedar (D, MI-13), U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D, MI-12), Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Oakland County Executive David Coulter.  
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Hamtramck mayor remains defiant: Hamtramck Mayor Amer Ghalib defended the resolution in a statement released on Saturday. 

For those politicians who don’t understand the situation in Hamtramck but they released statements to criticize us for passing… you do not know our city more than we do, and you will not know the consequences of opening the door for every group to fly their flag on city properties. Our residents are all equally important to us, and we will continue to serve them equally without discrimination, favoritism or preferential treatment to any group. The city government will stay NEUTRAL and IMPARTIAL toward its residents.

In a separate post on Facebook, Ghalib warned local residents of “strangers” who will come to provoke them through demonstrations.

Dear Residents of Hamtramak:

In the coming days, you will notice strangers demonstrating in your city and disturbing the public peace by provoking you with their actions and behaviors. I ask everyone to commit to calmness, wisdom, and not to friction with them, and I also ask everyone not to incite against one another, and not to vandalize private property whatever it may be, and not to trespass on public property or use it for one party against another.

The strangers will leave, and you will stay in your city, build and shape it as you wish.

Hate speech and incitement used by some groups and ignite the former centers of influence in the city to increase division and chaos in the city after the current government achieved financial reforms and development that the previous government failed to achieve during almost two decades, now they are trying to create chaos, division and disrupt security in the city.

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