According to The Washington Post, LGBTQ residents in Hamtramck, Michigan expressed “betrayal” over the Muslim City Council’s decision to remove Pride Flags on public property.
The council unanimously voted in June to ban Pride Flags from public flagpoles. The council cited the need to respect the religious rights of citizens who opposed the symbol.
“Many residents in this tiny enclave just north of downtown Detroit saw these changes as a sign of Hamtramck’s progressiveness. The Muslim community that had previously experienced discrimination, including voter intimidation and resistance to mosques’ public call to prayer, had finally taken its seats at the table,” the Post reported.
The article went on to say: “Yet the ethnic, cultural, religious diversity that has made Hamtramck such a model is now being seriously tested.” “After a divisive debate, six council members in June banned the display of Pride flags on city property.” “This angered both LGBTQ+ and allies who felt betrayed by the support they had given to immigrant communities.”
Former council member Catrina Stackpoole, who identifies as gay, was quoted saying, “We welcomed you,” adding “We created nonprofits to help feed, clothe, find housing. We did everything we could to make your transition here easier, and this is how you repay us, by stabbing us in the back?”
John Hansknecht of Hamtramck Queer Alliance also criticized the decision. He stated that the “single purpose” of the ban was “to go after gay pride banners”, and that “the prohibition has always been against queer people rather than neutrality, as they claim.”
Amer Ghalib, a Muslim Mayor, defended his choice. He pointed out that the resolution forbade the flying of all flags in the city except five.
Ghalib said, “We don’t target anyone.” “We are trying to close the door for other groups that could be racists or extremists.”
Dana Nessel, Attorney General of Michigan for the Democratic Party, spoke at a rally in opposition to this resolution.
“I ask the city of Hamtramck to use its voice to speak up for all its people, take down the wall you have now built that has made this proud city into a national embarrassment,” Nessel said. “Make no mistake, homophobia, and transphobia are indeed forms of evil as much as Islamophobia is.”
The motion allows for the flying of five different flags on public property: the U.S. flag, the Michigan flag, the Hamtramck flag, the Prisoner of War flag, and a unique flag representing the nations from which many Hamtramck citizens hail.