DEARBORN, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – LGBTQ+ and transgender-supporting Democrats have a Muslim problem in Michigan as the conservative Muslim community pushes back against Democrat-supported LGBTQ legislation and policies.

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In Hamtramck, the all-Muslim city council in the only Muslim-majority city in the United States, recently voted unanimously to institute a flag resolution called “Resolution to Maintain and Conform the Neutrality of the City of Hamtramck Towards its Residents.” In the resolution, they prohibit flags of any racial, ethnic, religious or sexual-oriented group on city property.

The LGBTQ+ community took offense to the resolution and showed up at the meeting to protest it on June 13th. Muslim Hassan Aoun was also at the meeting and said, “Don’t sit here and throw Pride Month, or being gay, down kids’ throat, my throat or anybody’s throat. You can be gay by yourself.”

After the vote was made concerning the flag resolution, a group of LGBTQ+ activists also protested in front of Hamtramck City Hall on June 24th. The protest included an appearance and speech by Attorney General Dana Nessel who compared their flag ban to being evil, homophobic and transphobic.

Hamtramck Mayor Amer Ghalib has said publicly that he considers the protesters to be a “militia” and the protesters were comprised of folks sent into his community, including elected officials, to put pressure on them and threaten them.

The Guardian, a centre-left British newspaper and media website, wrote about the issue and said that there is a sense of betrayal that Democrats feel about the Muslim community over the flag ban. While many Democrats celebrated the first Muslim-majority council when it happened, the relationship between Democrats and the Muslim community seems to be headed in an adversarial direction. Instead of continuing to view Muslims in government as a symbolic change of diversity, Democrats no longer seem comfortable with the positions that that local Muslim communities are taking, especially in their opposition to LGBTQ+ matters.

The Al Jazeera website says about Muslims across the country pushing back on social issues, “We are witnessing a unique and welcome phenomenon: Muslims in the West are at the forefront of a social movement that transcends any one faith or ethnicity. For those following the news, protests led by parents have erupted across the United States and Canada against school boards that wish to teach schoolchildren content about the acceptability of LGBTQ lifestyles.”

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Al Jazeera continues to say, “While parents of all ethnicities and religions are involved, Muslim parents have been playing a central role in all of these cases, both as organizers and protesters, and their highly visible presence is creating waves on social media.”

On October 10th of last year, Muslims in Dearborn shut down a school board meeting over LGBTQ+ books that were in the libraries of Dearborn Public Schools. Hundreds of protesters had showed up at the meeting, shouting about books that they considered to be too sexually explicit for their children to be exposed to. Opposing the Muslim community members at the meeting were reportedly members of the American Federation of Teachers Union who were there to support the LGBTQ+ community and are big donors to the Democrat party. Because of the unruly crowd, the board suspended their meeting amid chants from the crowd of “vote them out!” Signs that were seen in the crowd read “Homosexuality Big Sin,” “Keep your Porno Books to Yourself” and “If Democracy Matters, We’re the Majority.”

The Slate, an online magazine that covers politics and other topics, has an article called “The New Republican Voter.” They say that conservatives are “seeking to swell public anger over LGBTQ+ advocates’ alleged grooming of young people via books and other means have found some allies in the state’s large Muslim and Muslim immigrant population.” They talked to Hassan Aoun, who was at the Hamtramck meeting in June. Aoun, a Dearborn resident, was also at the Dearborn school board meeting last October and that is when he became interested in local politics, because he saw what he called an attempt to “indoctrinate” kids with LGBTQ+ themed books in the school system. He was one of the furious parents chanting “Vote them out!”

He told The Slate, “Im not aggressive. I’m a quiet guy. I speak in an aggressive way, not to sit there and intimidate someone. Just the anger that comes out because children are involved.”

Aoun continued to say, “The Democrat Party waves the LGBTQ flag. Let’s be honest. They’re doing it for their agenda. They’re not doing it just for the LGBTQ. They’re doing it for votes. And the Republican Party does not agree to this. Trump said this is uncalled for. That it’s a man and a woman, not a man and a man. God created female for a male and a male for a female…I need to protect my nieces and nephews at all costs. Imagine one day my niece goes into the bathroom and a guy is walking in. I can’t accept that. There’s no way.”

Some Muslims also opposed the Michigan Democratic legislators making changes to the state’s human-rights law, the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act, to protect LGBTQ+ rights with the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected categories. The Muslim activist organization, Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR), objected to Michigan’s passage of the amendment on the grounds of it being unconstitutional and undermining religious freedoms.

Abed Hammoud, a founding member of the Arab American Political Action Committee in Michigan, (which includes a photo of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on the home page of their website) is concerned that the Democrats don’t have better messaging in the Republican “book strategy.” He says, “Dearborn is always a good measure for the Muslim and Arab vote. They voted more Republican this time than usual because the rhetoric was: Republicans equal family values, and Democrats are going to show them porn and make them sexualized. That was the ploy.” However, he says that the issue goes beyond Dearborn and Aoun and that the controversy isn’t going anywhere. He also makes the accusation that the Republican Party is trying to build what he calls an “unholy alliance.”

Hammoud may not be far off about Muslims moving away from Democrats and looking towards the Republican Party because of the Democrat party’s support of LGBTQ+ issues. With loud voices from advocates like Aoun who are champions for parents’ rights and the safety of children, the hearts and minds – and votes – of Muslim Americans might be changing. That means that the Democrats may have a Muslim problem on their hands as numerous media reports show that Aoun is not alone in his crusade. Conservative-thinking Muslims like him have taken a strong stand and spoken out in public in Michigan and around the country because they have a “don’t mess with the children” attitude. Because of this, support of Democrats from the Muslim community could plummet in upcoming elections.

According to the Wisconsin Muslim Journal, by 2050, the Muslim population in the United States is expected to reach 8.1 million, accounting for 2.1% of the national population, with Michigan being the sixth most Muslim-populated state. The website says that Michigan is one of the swing states that needs to be paid attention to with the state’s Muslim community accounting for about 2.75% of the state’s population with the “potential to significantly influence electoral outcomes.” They go on to say, “Muslim Michiganders have established organizations that mobilize voters, engage in issue advocacy and support political candidates who align with their interests.”

The once relied-on Muslim vote for the Democrat party appears to be up for grabs. So the question remains – and will be answered soon: Which political party will the Muslim community be mobilizing for and supporting in the upcoming elections?