The mayor of Dearborn, Michigan has stepped up security measures in response to a widely criticized Wall Street Journal op-ed that declared his town “America’s Jihad Capital” because of its high-percentage of Arab and Muslim residents.
Abdullah H. Hammoud, announced on Saturday that he was dispatching more police around places of worship and major infrastructure points around the city in a statement on X. He did not mince words explaining why.
“This is a direct result of the inflammatory @WSJ opinion piece that has led to an alarming increase in bigoted and Islamophobic rhetoric online targeting the city of Dearborn,” the mayor said. “Stay vigilant.”
The column was written by Steven Stalinsky, the Executive Director of the Middle East Media Research Institute, an organization co-founded by an Israeli former intelligence officer and an Israeli-American political scientist. It dropped on Feb. 2 with the headline “Welcome to Dearborn: America’s Jihad Capital” and accused the city’s imams and elected leaders of siding “with Hamas against Israel and Iran against the U.S.”
The piece immediately sparked backlash from Hammoud, who called it “reckless” and “Islamophobic” while pointing out that Dearborn is one of the most diverse and fastest growing cities in Michigan. He told the Detroit Free Press, “This is more than irresponsible journalism. Publishing such inflammatory writing puts Dearborn residents at increased risk for harm.”
It’s 2024 and the @WSJ still pushes out this type of garbage.
Reckless. Bigoted. Islamophobic.
Dearborn is one of the greatest American cities in our nation.
- fastest growing city in MI
- home to the #1 travel destination in MI (Greenfield Village / Henry Ford Museum)
— Abdullah H. Hammoud (@AHammoudMI) February 3, 2024
President Biden, without naming the WSJ directly, also criticized the Islamophobia aimed at Dearborn’s many Arab and Muslim American residents.
“Americans know that blaming a group of people based on the words of a small few is wrong,” he wrote on X. “That’s exactly what can lead to Islamophobia and anti-Arab hate, and it shouldn’t happen to the residents of Dearborn—or any American town.”
Violence against Muslims has increased since Oct. 7, when the militant group Hamas launched a bloody assault on Israeli villages that left more than 1,200 dead. In retaliation, Israel has carried out a military offensive that counts more than 27,000 Palestinians dead, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.
In the U.S., violent anti-Arab and Islamophobic attacks have been carried out against Palestinians and Palestinian Americans as a direct result of the conflict, including the fatal stabbing of a 6-year-old boy by his landlord in October and the November shooting of three college students in Vermont, which left one paralyzed. Another American teenager was killed in the West Bank last month by Israeli bullets.