Hamtramck’s All-Muslim City Council Enforces Ban on LGBTQ Pride Flags

In a recent development, the city council of Hamtramck, Michigan, the only U.S. city with an entirely Muslim governing body, has unanimously decided to prohibit the display of LGBTQ Pride flags on all city properties. The resolution was put forward by Mayor Pro Tem and Councilman Mohammed Hassan.

The resolution asserts that the city government of Hamtramck will not permit any flags representing religious, ethnic, racial, political, or sexual orientation groups to be flown on the city’s public properties. Only the American flag and the flags of nations that reflect the city’s international character will be allowed.

Hassan, addressing the opponents of the proposal during a council meeting, stated, “You guys are the ones making problems. Please don’t threaten us. … I’m the elected official. … I’m working for the people, what the majority of the people like.”

Mayor Amer Ghalib, who was elected in 2021 after criticizing the former mayor for flying the Pride flag outside city hall, stated, “We serve everybody equally with no discrimination, but without favoritism. Those people who accused me of hating them, half of my boards and commissions are either LGBTQ, or supporters for LGBTQ. I never fired anybody who belong to the LGBTQ.”

City Councilman Nayeem Choudhury echoed the sentiment, stating, “We want to respect the religious rights of our citizens. 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.”

During the public comment session, a woman suggested that Hamtramck should change its slogan to “welcomes you if you’re straight,” before kissing another woman. Hassan Aoun, a Muslim community leader from Dearborn, Michigan, stated, “Pride month, don’t put it down our throats. You can be gay by yourself. … Do not put [the Pride flag] on city property.”

The decision follows a controversy last year when Hamtramck’s Human Relations Commission Chair Russ Gordon flew a Pride flag on Jos Campau Avenue next to flags of other nations. It remains unclear whether he will do so again in light of the new resolution.