On Tuesday, the city council of Hamtramck, Michigan, voted unanimously to ban LGBTQ+ Pride flags from being displayed on city property.
Hamtramck, which is located just outside of Detroit, is the only Muslim-majority town in the United States.
The resolution to prohibit Pride flags – and other flags promoting any “religious, ethnic, racial, political, or sexual orientation group” – from being displayed on city properties was introduced by Mayor Pro Tem Mohammed Hassan.
“Only the American flag and the nations’ flags that represent the international character of our City shall be flown,” said Hassan.
Hassan explained that it was important to respect the views and religious beliefs of Hamtramck residents and to “maintain and confirm the neutrality of the city of Hamtramck towards its residents.”
Addressing the critics of his resolution at Tuesday’s meeting, Hassan said, “You guys are the ones making problems… Please don’t threaten us… I’m working for the people, what the majority of the people like.”
BREAKING: Hamtramck, MI considers banning LGBTQ flags on city property and Muslim residents come out to show their support of the action. pic.twitter.com/v7TyZD8EzA
— The Brown Conservatives (@ABNMedia) June 14, 2023
Hamtramck Mayor Amer Ghalib supported the resolution, saying, “We serve everybody equally with no discrimination, but without favoritism.”
“Those people who accused me of hating them, half my boards and commissions are either LGBTQ or supporters for LGBTQ,” said Ghalib. “I never fired anybody who belong to the LGBTQ.”
City Councilman Nayeem Choudhury advocated for the Muslim population during the meeting, urging the city to respect Muslim beliefs and traditions.
“We want to respect the religious rights of our citizens,” said Choudhury. “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.”
Hassan Aoun, a Dearborn resident who has been very active in trying to remove LGBTQ+ content in local school districts, also spoke at the meeting, saying, “Pride month, don’t put it down our throats. You can be gay by yourself… Do not put [the Pride flag] on city property.”
Some of the public comments before Hamtamck’s all-Muslim city council voted to ban Pride symbols from all city property. pic.twitter.com/72QgYnhPrr
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) June 14, 2023
State Sen. Stephanie Chang (D), whose district includes Hamtramck, released a statement comforting those in the LGBTQ+ community who were offended by the city’s refusal to fly a flag celebrating their sexuality.
“To Hamtramck LGBTQ+ community members and their families – please know that you have many allies throughout the city and state, and that includes me as your state senator,” said Chang. “You are loved, you are welcome, and you are valued. Hamtramck has had a long history of being a place of hope and opportunity for people of all backgrounds.”