Electing its first Muslim mayor on Tuesday, the city of Hamtramck, Michigan, made history by electing three Muslim members to the city council, thus making it the first in the US history to have an entirely Muslim local council.
Starting in January 2022, the new Hamtramck City Council will consist of Councilman Nayeem Choudhry, newly elected Amanda Jaczkowski, Councilman Mohammed Hassan, Councilman Mohammed Alsomiri, newly elected Adam Albarmaki.
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Five of them are immigrants and one is a Muslim convert with ancestral roots in Eastern Europe.
“It’s important to remember that although we all happen to be practicing Muslims, we are elected through the processes set forth by the United States, Michigan, Wayne County and Hamtramck,” Amanda Jaczkowski, one of the three newly elected Muslims on the council, told the Free Press.
“We will all take an oath … to protect the Constitution of the United States, and that includes the concept of separation of church and state. I believe strongly in that separation, and although I will bring the Islamic values of honesty and integrity to the table, the policies that I promote and affirm will be what is best for all people of Hamtramck.”
Current City Councilman Mohammed Hassan stressed the same message.
“Religion is not inside the (City Hall) building,” Hassan said. “It’s outside in the mosque and temple and the church. Not in City Hall.”
Hassan added that “nothing will change in council, we remain the same.”
“We respect all the religions,” Hassan said. “Inside the City Hall, we are responsible for the residents … we do our responsibility by the book.”
The percentage of Muslim residents in Hamtramck is not clear since the US census does not ask about religion.
But estimates based on census ancestry data suggest that about half are Muslim. About 25% of the city is of Arab descent, most of them Yemeni, and an additional 27% is of Asian ancestry, most of them Bangladeshi, according to 2019 census data.
Almost all Yemenis are Muslim, while Bangladeshi Americans in Hamtramck are a mix of Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Christian.
Hamtramck drew attention in 2015 when it elected its first Muslim-majority City Council. The city’s population has spiked 27% over the past decade.