Dearborn mayor ramps up police patrols near places of worship due to “inflammatory” WSJ op-ed

DEARBORN, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) – There will be a larger law enforcement presence at places of worship and major infrastructure points, the mayor of Dearborn, Michigan, said Saturday in response to what he called an “inflammatory” Wall Street Journal opinion piece which was published Friday. 

Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud said in a social media post that the op-ed has “led to an alarming increase in bigoted and Islamophobic rhetoric online targeting the city.” 

The WSJ piece, which was headlined “Welcome to Dearborn, America’s Jihad Capital,” alleged thousands in the city support the Hamas militant group. 

RELATED: Arab American leaders urge Michigan to vote “uncommitted” and send message to Biden about Israel policy

“In response to an Islamaphobic, Anti-Arab, and blatantly racist opinion piece published by the Wall Street Journal today, we have increased the presence of law enforcement throughout Dearborn,” Hammoud said in a statement. “Dearborn Police continue to monitor social media for threats. This is more than irresponsible journalism. Publishing such inflammatory writing puts our residents at increased risk for harm.” 

In a statement Saturday, the Michigan chapter of Council on America Islamic Relations said it “welcomed” the “stepped-up police patrols.”

“We welcome the proactive approach taken by Mayor Hammoud to protect the Muslim community from potential attack based on the false claims in this inaccurate and inflammatory commentary,” said Dawud Walid, CAIR Michigan’s executive director. 

CBS News has reached out to WSJ for comment on Hammoud’s response to the op-ed. 

During a visit to Michigan Thursday to celebrate his endorsement from the United Auto Works, President Biden was met with pushback over the U.S. support of Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza, which began when Hamas invaded southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing more than 1,200 people. At least 26,000 people in Gaza have been killed in Israel’s retaliatory assault, according to the territory’s Hamas-led Gaza Health Ministry.   

While Biden was meeting with UAW workers, about 150 pro-Palestinian demonstrators protested as outside as police with riot shields kept them away. 

Biden’s visit did not include any meetings with Arab Americans, according to the Associated Press. 

This comes as some Michigan community leaders are encouraging voters to select “uncommitted” in the Michigan primary elections, hoping to send a message to Mr. Biden before November that they’re unhappy with U.S. support for Israel in its war with Hamas.

Last month, Mr. Biden sent campaign manager Julie Chavez-Rodriguez to Michigan to meet with Arab American community leaders. They refused to meet with her. 

“The lives of Palestinians are not measured in poll numbers,” Hammoud wrote in a Jan. 26 social media post. “When elected officials view the atrocities in Gaza only as an electoral problem, they reduce our indescribable pain into a political calculation.” 

In another post, Hammoud stated that one Dearborn resident has so far lost 80 family members in Gaza.

— Sophia Barkoff contributed to this report.


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