Sharron Angle’s Trail Of Bigotry Slimes Dearborn, Michigan

Dearborn, MIchigan a city where faiths co-mingle
Dearborn, MIchigan a city where faiths co-mingle

Trail of Bigotry Behind Sharron Angle’s Dearborn Smear

Republican Senatorial candidate Sharron Angle is fear-mongering in her incoherent way again. This time she’s hitting on Dearborn, Michigan, suggesting there is a “militant terrorist” situation in Dearborn as they are under Sharia law. This, of course, is patently ridiculous. Dearborn Michigan is a city outlying the larger city of Detroit and the hometown of Henry Ford, as well as headquarters of the Ford Motor Company. It’s also home to our current Miss America, who happens to be Lebanese. Dearborn has a large, thriving Muslim community. Shiver me timbers.

This all started when Angle was asked to clarify her statement that Muslims are trying to “take over the US”. In response, Angle said:

“We’re talking about a militant terrorist situation, which I believe it isn’t a widespread thing, but it is enough that we need to address, and we have been addressing it. My thoughts are these, first of all, Dearborn, Michigan, and Frankford, Texas are on American soil, and under constitutional law. Not Sharia law. And I don’t know how that happened in the United States,” she said. “It seems to me there is something fundamentally wrong with allowing a foreign system of law to even take hold in any municipality or government situation in our United States.””

Not only is Sharron inaccurate, but she’s fear-mongering deliberately out of utter ignorance. If these folks would be lucid, we could have rational discussion and debate over our immigration policies, which are studded with problems. But using this as a wedge issue to avoid talking about her plans for Nevada is not responsible nor is it likely to lead to any sort of meaningful solution.

Common Ground News reports:

“Dearborn is home to the largest concentration of Arabs outside the Middle East. Thirty percent of Dearborn’s residents are of Arab origin, as are half the kids in its public schools.….But Dearborn is unlike any city in the Arab world — because it is also American. Dearborn epitomizes these traits. The Arab population is Christian and Muslim, Sunni and Shia, pious and secular, and they live, work and eat side by side. Dearborn has a palpable sense of “live and let live,” and we were told this also applies to relations between Arabs and the non-Arab majority. Dearborn presents not a threat, but an un-seized opportunity to serve as America’s bridge to the Arab and Muslim worlds.”

It seems we must repeat things like the fact that many Arabs are Christians so that folks of Sharron Angle’s caliber might hear of it via some optimistic trickle down theory of facts. Arab Americans comprised 30% of Dearborn’s population in 2000. More Iraqi immigrants have arrived since 2003 (due to the war) and they tend to be Muslims while earlier immigrants tended to be Christian. This area of Michigan also has large Chaldean and Romanian communities that are often mistaken as Arabs and therefore subjected to the kind of Islamphobia stirred up by the careless rhetoric of desperate politicians like Angle.

In fact, the area has been inhabited for thousands of years by varying indigenous people, so the idea that Muslims area taking over a Christian area is obnoxious in its simple minded obtuseness. Another thing someone who is familiar with this area knows is that half an hour away from Dearborn is the second largest Jewish community in America, West Bloomfield and Bloomfield Hills, and these folks live together peacefully. Every year, Detroit hosts an Inner Faith ceremony, where religious leaders and believers of many different religions come together to honor their faith. When Detroit hosted the Superbowl, the “Nation of Ribbons” ceremony was directed by Middle Eastern dance and music groups from all over. It became the largest single cultural event connected to the NFL.

Perhaps Sharron needs to get out more.

Sharron is no doubt responding to news reports that Christian missionaries Negeen Mayel, David Wood and Paul Rezkalla, were arrested for inciting the crowd along with Dr. Nabeel Quresh for disorderly conduct while videotaping themselves preaching to Muslims during the Dearborn International Arab Festival in June of this year. Why they felt the need to go to an ethnic festival to preach their word is anyone’s guess, but it doesn’t reek of peaceful intentions. They were ultimately found not guilty of inciting the crowd though one was found guilty of failure to obey a police order. They are now contemplating suing the city.

If you google this, you will see that far right sites like the Free Republic and Glock Talk are up in arms about this because as you know, Christians are the persecuted minority in this country. Sadly, what they never find out because it is not reported in those sources is that it was a Christian volunteer who reported the missionaries for harassment, not a Muslim. Sigh. It seems Angle suffers from the same failure to properly educate herself before opening her mouth.

The Press and Guide reported:

“’The four, who are members or founders of a group called “Acts 17 Apologetics, were charged with breach of peace in July after police said they received a complaint from a Christian festival volunteer who said he was harassed by the group.”

The city says the missionaries were arrested because their behavior “drew and incited a large crowd to a point where they were in violation of city of Dearborn misdemeanor ordinances of breach of peace and failure to obey the lawful order of a police officer.”

The Thomas More Law Center (who describes themselves as the “answer to the ACLU and are currently engaged in Thomas More Law Center v. Barack Obama, et al., a federal lawsuit against the new health care law) defended the missionaries for free.

“The Thomas More Law Center’s purpose is to be the sword and shield for people of faith, providing legal representation without charge to defend and protect Christians and their religious beliefs in the public square….

Our ministry was inspired by the recognition that the issues of the culture war being waged across America–issues such as abortion, pornography, school prayer, and the removal of the Ten Commandments from municipal and school buildings–are not being decided by elected legislatures, but by the courts.

These court decisions, largely insulated from the democratic process, have been inordinately influenced by legal advocacy groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) which seek to systematically subvert the religious and moral foundations of our nation.”

TMLC is most widely known for its instigation, litigation and loss of the Dover, Pennsylvania intelligent design case, defending LtCol Jeffrey Chessani against misconduct allegations during the November 2005 Haditha killings, its strong anti-abortion position, and for its current federal lawsuit against the government regarding the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The Thomas More Law Center also intervened in the Terri Schiavo case in Florida in October 2003. Angle is aligning herself with extremists like this, who seek to subvert our laws in an attempt to impose their religious beliefs on a nation. Just who is trying to impose Sharia law here?

Apparently according to the Right wing outrage over this, only Muslims can be arrested and found later to be not guilty, but if it happens to Christians, things are heading toward a state of militant terrorism. One wonders if Angle saw these Christian missionaries if her tune would change, unless having brown skin is A-OK so long as you are Christian, in which case I would suggest she rethink her border philosophy for logic’s sake.

Screen shot 2010 10 08 at 12.45.58 PM1 1
Christian missionaries Negeen Mayel, David Wood and Paul Rezkalla, who were arrested with Dr. Nabeel Qureshi at the Dearborn Arab International Festival in June, listen to Judge Mark Somers during their arraignment in 19th District Court in July.

Arab American News reported that A. Khan, a lecturer at Wayne State University on Islamic and Muslim History and Political Islam and board member of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding said:

“Khan said that the Muslim community in America remains a target of politicians engaging in demagoguery in large part because of a 2007 survey from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life which stated that there were only about 2.5 million Muslims in America, a number some have questioned as being too small, instead of an older measurement of 6 to 8 million.

“They (essentially) said that there aren’t enough to count, after all they’re a statistical anomaly and can be written off,” Khan said. “It became an easy (target) for political and corporate ambition agendas.” Ahmad talked about how fear of Islam is propagated for political gain. “You look at Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Islam is the demon to them, before it was socialism or communism, there always has to be a demon to create a climate of fear.””

Like any large city, Dearborn isn’t perfect and it suffers from the same issues you find in large, mixed communities, but Angle really missed the boat here. Dearborn is an example of and possible conduit to positive relations between different religions. Leaders of any caliber should be focused on supporting our national security, not undermining it and inflaming tense relations. We have been warned by top US commander in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, that American Islamaphobia feeds terrorism and threatens our troops as well as our own security.

Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly called Angle’s comments “shameful.” “She took it as face value and maligned the city of Dearborn and I consider that totally irresponsible,” he said. “If she wants to come here, I will take her on a tour. I will show her we follow the Constitution just as well as anyone else.”

Angle suffers from the current Republican value of shoot first, ask questions later. She maligned an entire city and inflamed Islamaphobia based on information she apparently gleaned from a NewsMax equivalent. She would be an incredibly irresponsible leader, especially for a nation engaged in war. Enough with the politics of destruction, cheap shots at minorities and reckless shots fired randomly for political gain.

Sharron Angle, what are your ideas for Nevada and how would you govern differently than you are running?

Image: More than 20 religious leaders from various backgrounds and several different churches and mosques came together for an interfaith prayer session in support of tolerance and understanding on Sept. 11 at the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn. PHOTOS: Nick Meyer/TAAN

25 Replies to “Sharron Angle’s Trail Of Bigotry Slimes Dearborn, Michigan”

  1. What these people are also not taking into account is that Dearborn was once the whitest community in all of America, led by the avowed racist Orville L. Hubbard.

    Quoting from The WikiWackyWoo (
    For many years, Hubbard was unabashed in his comments about segregation. He once told a reporter from the Montgomery Advertiser: “They can’t get in here. We watch it. Every time we hear of a negro moving–for instance, we had one last year–in we respond quicker than you do to a fire. That’s generally known. It’s known among our own people and it’s known among the Negroes here.” [1] He also boasted that one of his tactics to discourage blacks who had just moved into Dearborn was by providing police and fire protection that was “a little too good”–wake-up visits every hour or so through the night in response to trouble calls.

    Hubbard’s other memorable statements on race include the following:

    * He once examined the bullet-riddled body of a black man and called it an open-and-shut case of suicide.[2]
    * Hubbard was once quoted as saying, “I’m not a racist, but I just hate those black bastards.”[2]
    * During the 1967 Detroit riots, Hubbard ordered Dearborn police to “shoot looters on sight.”[2]
    * “I favor segregation”, he told The New York Times in 1968. With integration, Hubbard said, “you wind up with a mongrel race.”[6]

    Hubbard’s racial views were not limited to African-Americans. He was known to complain that “the Jews own this country”, that the Irish “are even more corrupt than the Dagos”, and as Middle Easterners began moving into Dearborn that “the Syrians are even worse than the niggers.”[2]

    This is also part of the legacy of Dearborn, Michigan.

    With all my love,
    Aunty Em

  2. I live in Macon, GA, the same city from which Erik Erickson hails. I live on the west side of the city. There is an Islamic Center, along with four churches, that are within walking distance of my neighborhood. There have been zero incidents of violence from any of the adherents who attend services at the Islamic Center. Those of us living in the community never know when Muslims are at the center. Our local newspaper announced the opening of a new Islamic center in our city today. There has been no local outrage over the decision of Muslims to move into the building which was once a church. The group purchased the building for $110,000 because it said the center near my neighborhood couldn’t accommodate all of the members.

    Newt is from GA, and he knows that there are many Islamic centers here, and that none of the Muslims attending any of these centers have posed a problem for any of the Christians or churches. Newt has his eye on a 2012 run for the office of POTUS and has decided to use Islam and Muslims in his campaign to receive his party’s nomination.

    General Petraeus and members of our national security team have warned Angle, Newt, Palin, and others about the danger their behavior poses to our national security and to our troops. And in spite of knowing these things they continue to fear monger. This leads me to believe that none of them are seeking public office for the purpose of working to resolve conflicts between the U.S. and Muslim countries and/or to combat Islamic terrorism. Newt is seeking the office of POTUS not because he cares what happens to our country and our troops, but because he covets the office. Newt’s loyalty is to Newt, and so is Angle’s, Palin’s, and the rest who continue to fear monger about Islam, gays, lesbians, undocumented immigrants, Hispanics, atheists, African Americans, etc. Patriot is not a word that should be associated with anything having to do with these individuals or their supporters.

  3. Dearborn, West Bloomfield and Bloomfield Hills are the money pits of Detroit.

    I read this article and it makes me sick(not the article). Angle and her fellow cohort teapublicans like Boehner are now seemingly free to tell any lie they like. How Angle could even imagine Sharia law was at work there is beyond me. Like the Dearborn Mayor, the people of the 3 areas noted above are very well to do as a rule and will not take these remarks about their area and supposed behavior kindly. But that doesnt matter, not a one of them can vote for Angle. Reid needs to get a Dearborn resident to do an ad

  4. Having grown up and spent the first 50 years of my life near Dearborn, it still is a whiter community than the surrounding areas. But thats due to the fact that its very rich area.

    Detroit is a very diverse city with pockets of different nationalities all over the place. It also unfortunately has a very violent side to it.

    Newt is picking the wrong subject. If he spends the next 2 years harping on sharia law he will be a laughing stock by the elections. Note that the Park51 issue has gone away due to the media forgetting about it.

  5. It’s another attempt on Angle’s part to deflect from the fact that she is bereft of any ideas on how to improve the lot of Nevadans if she should win. Just like others of her ilk, she seems bent on alienating large parts of the American electorate with fear- and hate-mongering. Just the other day, it was “brown” immigrants (Latinos), and now it’s the Muslims. Of course, no rational, thinking woman would vote for another woman who makes statements about childbirth from incest or rape being a way to make “lemonade” out of “lemons.” She doesn’t have the interests of the elderly at heart either, with her talk about “privatizing” social security. But one of the most mind-numbing examples of her block-headed stupidity was talk about eliminating the Department of Education.

    General Patraeus has constantly been warning the hard right that their anti-Muslim vitriol has put soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan between a rock and a hard place. In their quest to score political points by stirring up their base, Angle and others have also appealed to a fake patriotism that only pretends to respect those soldiers and what they have to contend with on a daily basis. But by slandering a part of the country that is out of her jurisdiction, she has shown her willingness to stoop to just about any depth in order to win.

  6. Yes, good point- Bloomfield was once the second richest county in the nation, just after Beverly Hills. I would love to see Dearborn resident speak out in an ad against her. IF this is how she treats other American cities that she has clearly never visited, how would she treat foreign countries? Just terrifying.

  7. I think we can all agree that anything Angle says should instantly be considered “fodder” for political comedians. The woman is truly nuts. She has no credibility .. half of the time, she has NO idea what she is even saying of speaking about.
    She’s a fruitcake … filled with nuts.
    Almost like she continues to try and “outdo” her last outrageous comment with a new one. Bid for attention?

  8. Great link and point, Majii. It’s so heartening to hear GOOD stories and especially when they hail from where we do not expect them. This just goes to show that the Republican Party does not speak for everyone, not even in red states. Dignified patriots need to speak up for sanity and respect.

  9. Thanks for that quote. That’s correct — there’s an ugly history that the city has worked hard to overcome. The current mayor seems devoted to sanity and tolerance. But certainly Angle’s dream of the great white past is not the lily white Norman Rockwell story she’s selling, but then, none of them are really going for Rockwell – they’re selling Rockwell so they can go back to what you just described — cloaking bigotry and hatred in false nostalgia.

  10. I think it’s the shock and awe strategy. She just keeps on coming, meanwhile the press is so busy debunking her they can never get around to covering what she actually stands for, which is a bonus for most Republicans these days. This is an old strategy best recently employed by the best defense is a good offense duck and dodger Sarah Palin.

  11. Exactly, Anne. This is all a purposeful strategy to avoid real discussions regarding ideas and solutions. Note how she slides away from her SS and Veteran’s Admin statements.

  12. Excellent article, Sarah. I noticed that Gail Collins also addressed her crazy comments in her most recent column in the New York Times, and pointed to their lack of veracity. I think “shock and awe” is a good way to term her strategy. It seems to be all that’s available to these Tea Party candidates given their inability to use empirical evidence to support their wild assertions. Lie, lie big, and move on to the next lie; repeat.

  13. But where is all the money come from?
    They, from what I can learn, spend at least $500,000.00 on a candidate.
    That is a lot of money for a supposedly a grass roots organization. So who is funding this and what is their agenda???

  14. There is a mistake in this article: the present Miss America is Lebanese, but isn’t Muslim. She was raised celebrating both Christian and Muslim holidays, and if I remember correctly, she identifies as a Christian.

  15. You Liberals can attack Mrs. Angle all you want but she has the right attitude, the American attitude. Hopefully she’ll win her election, along with so many other solid American candidates, and we can begin the long, hard, painful for our enemies process of reclaiming and restoring America’s nation and culture.

  16. When you say “American” candidates, it infers that others are not American. Do you realize that this is absolutely outrageous?

  17. Your an idiot and a bigot. If you represent what America is I might as well go live in Canada. At least I would have some health care.

  18. As long as people abide by the laws & regulations – City, State and Federal – They are entitled under the Constitution to live in America anywhere they want.
    There are throughout America man enclaves of diverse religions and customs.
    This is what is great about America its diversity and tolerance.
    This country was built with immigrants from every part of the world.
    We should learn to live with each other in peace and harmony.
    Anyone who rejects tolerance is bound to destroy himself and the people around him.
    Thank you

    YJ Draiman

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