NATIONAL NEWS

Michigan city ramps up security after op-ed calls it ‘America’s jihad capital’

Feb 4, 2024, 5:50 PM | Updated: 6:32 pm

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Dearborn, Michigan, is ramping up its police presence in response to fallout from an opinion piece that described the city, which has the nation’s highest Muslim population per capita, as “America’s jihad capital.”

Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud on Friday tweeted that city police increased security at places of worship and major infrastructure points as a “direct result” of a Wall Street Journal opinion piece titled, “Welcome to Dearborn, America’s Jihad Capital.”

Hammoud posted on the X platform, formerly known as Twitter, that the item published Friday “led to an alarming increase in bigoted and Islamophobic rhetoric online targeting the city of Dearborn.”

Steven Stalinsky, executive director of the Middle East Media Research Institute, who authored the opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, said in an interview with The Associated Press that he wanted to draw attention to protests in Michigan and elsewhere across the U.S. in which people have expressed support for Hamas since the start of the war with Israel.

More than 27,000 Palestinians, mostly women and minors, have been killed in Gaza since Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, according to the Health Ministry in the Hamas-ruled territory. Hamas killed more than 1,200 people and kidnapped about 250 more, mostly civilians, in the attack.

“Nothing in my article was written to instigate any sort of hate,” Stalinsky said. “This is a moment for counterterrorism officials to be concerned.”

The Wall Street Journal did not immediately respond Sunday to requests for comment left by The Associated Press via email and voicemail. An email sent to a Dearborn spokeswoman also was not immediately returned Sunday.

In a tweet referencing Dearborn on Saturday, President Joe Biden condemned “hate in all forms.”

“Americans know that blaming a group of people based on the words of a small few is wrong,” Biden’s post read. “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.”

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Michigan city ramps up security after op-ed calls it ‘America’s jihad capital’