(trendingpoliticsnews) – The Hamtramck City Council, a suburban area in Detroit composed entirely of Muslim members, has unanimously voted to prohibit the display of LGBTQ+ flags on city property.
The decision, announced following a tense, near four-hour deliberation on Tuesday night, permits only the Prisoner of War flag, the city, state, and the American flag, as well as flags representing the native countries of the city’s immigrant residents on city property.
The ruling applies solely to city flagpoles, allowing businesses and residents to continue flying any flag of their choice on private property. Despite the ban encompassing “any religious, ethnic, racial, political, or sexual orientation group flags,” the resolution, which arrived in the middle of Pride Month, has been perceived as a pointed attack on the LGBTQ+ community.
The issue of the Pride flag being flown on city property had been a contentious topic in Hamtramck, with the city’s first Muslim mayor, Amer Ghalib, making it a campaign issue in 2021. Some members of the all-Muslim council echoed Ghalib’s sentiments, stating that the Pride flag conflicted with the beliefs of some members of their faith.
“We want to respect the religious rights of our citizens,” council member Nayeem Choudhury said of the diverse enclave’s 27,000 residents, more than 40% of whom were not born in the US, with many of Yemeni or Bangladeshi descent.
Mohammed Hassan, the councilman who sponsored the resolution, vehemently denied the allegations of bigotry. “We love everybody. We don’t hate anybody. We don’t discriminate (against) anybody. We are living very respectfully without hate,” he said.
Another resident told the council, “You keep your [Pride] flag, you want to put it in your house, put it in your house. Do not put it on city property and do not put it in our schools. Do not put it on city property and do not put it in our schools.”
Despite these assurances, many critics of the decision were unappeased. “You can pretend that this resolution is meant to protect diversity, but you know very well that all it will do is encourage discrimination against the LGBTQ community,” one attendee of the meeting commented. Another resident, who moved from California to Hamtramck for its reputation of diversity, expressed her disappointment and skepticism about the city’s commitment to inclusivity.
The resolution’s passage has also drawn criticism from Detroit City FC, a professional soccer team based in Hamtramck. “Pride flags send a powerful message that all are welcome and that the community values diversity,” the team said on Twitter, urging the council to reconsider its decision.