Michigan city with all-Muslim government bans LGBTQ+ Pride flags

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A Michigan city council banned LGBTQ Pride flags from being displayed on all public properties after months of debates. 

The Hamtramck City Council voted unanimously on the resolution, introduced by Mayor Pro Tem and Councilman Mohammed Hassan, which also prohibits the display and flying of flags with racist and political views.

Hassan and other members of the council said LGBTQ people and others are welcome in Hamtramck, but need to respect religious freedom. Proponents of the resolution said the Pride flag clashes with their faith, and argued American soldiers sacrificed for the U.S. flag, not the Pride flag.

Before the vote, Hassan blasted critics of the resolution for not respecting the views of Hamtramck residents.

"Please don't threaten us ... I'm the elected official ... I'm working for the people, what the majority of the people like," Hassan said. 

Hamtramck, whose population jumped 27% from 2010 to 2020, has the highest percentage of immigrants among cities in Michigan and is the only city in the U.S. with an all-Muslim city council and mayor. About half of the city is either of Yemeni or Bangladeshi descent. 

In protest, a woman speaking during the public comment portion of the Hamtramck City Council meeting kissed a woman standing next to her Tuesday night.

“You guys are welcome,” council member Nayeem Choudhury said. “(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.”

Some members of the all-Muslim council said the pride flag clashes with the beliefs of some members of their faith. Businesses and residents aren’t prohibited from displaying a pride flag on their own property.

“We want to respect the religious rights of our citizens,” Choudhury said.

Hamtramck, population 27,000, is an enclave surrounded by Detroit. More than 40% of residents were born in other countries, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and a significant share are of Yemeni or Bangladeshi descent.

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