First Muslim city council: Portrait of a changing Michigan city

946631_1_1108-Hamtramck_standardThe city of Hamtramck, Mich., is the first city in America to elect a Muslim-majority city council. The vote reflects the shifting demographic trends in America.

The election of a majority-Muslim city council in a Detroit-area town illustrates the growth of a young, Westernized generation of Muslim-Americans in the US.

It’s a generation of American Muslims trying to retain the values of previous generations while establishing itself in a country that still exhibits some Islamophobic sentiments stemming from the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

For most of its history, Hamtramck, Mich., was a Polish city, but in recent decades it became increasingly Muslim. In 2013, it became the first city in America to have a majority Muslim population, with most immigrants coming from Yemen, Bangladesh, and Bosnia. And last week, it elected amajority-Muslim city council – Muslims now occupy four of the six council seats – likely the first American city to do so. Karen Majewski, the city’s mayor, is of Polish descent.

In many ways the new council members epitomize the modern struggles of this young generation of Muslim-Americans. As candidates they were associated with terrorism and saw their citizenship questioned, the Standard Daily reported. After the election, they stressed that their faith will not define their work.



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