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An American muslim Saad Almasmari created history by becoming a Councilman at Hamtramck in Detroit area

While presidential candidates are trying to prevent Muslims from coming to this county, they are becoming majority in one of the cities, said Osama Siblani.

HAMTRAMCK, MI - JANUARY 07: A pedestrian walks past the Islamic Center of Hamtramck on January 7, 2011 in Hamtramck, Michigan. The city of Hamtramck is considering filing for bankruptcy protection while it struggles to meet its financial obligations. If approved the bankruptcy filing would be the first for a city in the state of Michigan. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Despite all the hoopla over tolerance versus intolerance, USA continues to be the land of freedom of speech, justice and multiculturalism. Hamtramck- a town in Detroit area elected its first Muslim-majority city council. A town that was predominantly Polish Catholic in 1970s is today a Muslim -majority place.

That was in the first week of November of 2015. We profile one of the new councilman, Saad Almasmari.

Winning the majority of votes in Hamtramck City Council, Saad Almasmari described his excitement and experience about the race to it. “I am a social guy, I like helping my community, my city” says Almasmari.

Among three American-Muslim candidates on the ballot, Yemen born Saad Almasmari was one of them. All three received the most votes in a town that has the largest percentages of foreign born citizens in Michigan. “This is the city that has distinguished itself among others that the majority of the people on the city council are Muslims” Osama Siblani, publisher of Arab American News. But this news made a bigger remark due to its timing. “While presidential candidates are trying to prevent Muslims from coming to this county, they are becoming majority in one of the cities. I think this is the news” he adds.

Hamtramck was unhappy to know Mr. Donald Trump’s statement to ban Muslims from coming to America. “We have about 27% of Yemenis in Hamtramck, 22% Bengalis and about 11% Brazilians who are all Muslims” says Almasmari. From a Polish Catholic auto workers’ settlement, to Muslim American shop owners and businesses Hamtramck has been a case study for changing demographics by recent immigration. “Yes, it has all been quite surprising, all these national and international attention” Karen Majewski, Mayor- Hamtramck.

Saad Almasmari winning the city council elections.
Saad Almasmari winning the city council elections. Image source Al Arab news

But this attention couldn’t last longer. When Almasmari attended his first general city council meeting in January, only two media organizations were present to record the moment.  “In the council, I am an American before I am a Muslim. One of the newspapers asked me if I was able to meet Mr Trump, would you? I said yes I have no issues in meeting him. And then three days later, I received an email from their campaign asking if I can meet him for like 15-20 mins.”

If he ever meets Mr. Trump, he wouldn’t talk about his faith, but helping Hamtramck which is in financial trouble and has highest poverty rates in the state of Michigan clears Saad Almasmari.

-by Vrushali Mahajan

Vrushali is pursuing her graduation in Journalism and is an intern at NewsGram. You can reach the author at twitter- Vrushali Mahajan 

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  • Bill Meyer

    please make correction in quote above: it’s Bangladeshis NOT Brazilians. Thank you

  • bandmom

    Where are any women in that picture? Probably where most Muslim women are – in a body bag out of sight and not visible in public.

Next Story

State Honor To Bollywood Stars May Take A Vulgar Turn

Are we not deeply concerned that this beautiful earth and its beautiful people are being ceaselessly troubled by evil acts of a few inhumane bigots?

Sridevi's family along with the nation is distraught at her death.
Sridevi's family along with the nation is distraught at her death.

– SALIL GEWALI, Shillong

Obscenity and immorality will have the last laugh

What if a mother continuously makes her child eat more and more pudding only? Will he not vomit? This might even make the child suffer from dysentery and other sicknesses? Exactly the same was done to us by the media for 4/5 days immediately after the sudden demise of the Bollywood film star Sridevi in a Dubai Hotel room. The TV audience has been forced to shed tears on and on for the actress. Many have felt it intensely irritating. There was practically minuscule coverage on the election in Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura by the media. I guess the gossip of a film star is more important than the citizens exercising the democratic right and other major events across the country.

Is it right to cover the death of a Bollywood star this much?

                      What is not less disgusting is the mindset and the taste of the media these days.  It literally does not let an individual gaze “upwards” and think higher. Thoughts, opinions and commendation expressed about the departed soul may sound poetic but they all border on the “frivolity and actress’s titbits. One fails to understand what good it does to us by knowing the idle gossip of a film actor whose lives are less inspirational. I’m afraid, to the media and its type, the film stars are the “only” inspirational, and all others’ controversial, lol! It seems the Maharashtra government has gone overboard by arranging the cremation of the Bollywood star with the full state honour. Is it wanting to swim with the media tide? Phew, this unprecedented trend might take a very vulgar turn. Obscenity and immorality will have the last laugh!

Also Read: State Honours For Sridevi’s Funeral, Procession Is Among Largest Recorded In Mumbai

Is the death of  Jagadguru Jayendra Saraswathi not a great loss for the nation who passed away in the same period? His demise did not merit a mention even as a news. Is this not the dangerous trend being set in which even the government is hand in gloves with the media?

               Well, no media brings to light how some female actors lead the life after a certain age. Mostly, their later lives are less enviable. With the waning of the youthful glamour, the media ignores them. During the heyday, many of the single actresses usually get heavily drunk in the glitz of materialism which later makes them stagger and subsequently fall into the sea of frustration and aloofness. In their twilight years, they just struggle hard to make peace with the chaotic thought and unfulfilled expectations.

                        One of my witty nieces yesterday remarked, ‘the media usually wastes the precious time of the people who themselves cannot decide how to be more productive in life. They usually end up looking upon the wrong people as their role models and consequently take the wrong steps. This is very disastrous to the individual and also to the society at large’.  I am sure my niece is cent percent correct.

Sridevi was a legend who deserves our respects and her own privacy.

                      Of course, such occurrence of death of a celebrity could be widely used as a means to inform and wise up the people about how inescapable the death is. This death at any moment can devour each of us. Our mission, our ambition, our vanity and our entire materialistic possessions just fall to pieces when the death snatches our precious body. Before the jaws of death, a successful celebrity and a street bigger are same. It is the biggest leveller. Why does our media not use such facts of the life sensibly and put a little effort to make the citizen more enlightened and more “humane”? This can be done very easily.

Also Read: India Stunned By The Death Of Veteran Actress Sridevi

                       Are we not deeply concerned that this beautiful earth and its beautiful people are being ceaselessly troubled by evil acts of a few inhumane bigots? If ever the knowledge of the “impermanence” of the life and the inevitability of death was harped on and instilled into everyone’s mind, as the entertainment items, the major problem on this earth would have been just solved. People would not have gone mindlessly berserk being the cause of anxiety to others. Most of the problems, difficulties and worries that we have now are only because of the total “ignorance” of the hard facts about the life and death which might attack any of us at any time. Every moment we rejoice and every moment we grieve only pushes us towards the graveyard. I believe, this clear knowledge of “graveyard” and the unpredictably temporary nature of life on earth itself can effectively guard us against a host of wrong thoughts and a host of wrong acts.