Dearborn, a suburb in Detroit, Michigan, is likely to soon elect its first Arab-American mayor. Lebanese American Abdullah Hammoud will become the city's first Arab, Muslim and person of colour to be Dearborn mayor if he wins the election next Tuesday. The region is popularly known as the capital of Arab America.
Hammoud is currently serving as a state representative, and he won the primaries with a comfortable margin in August. Arab-American activists are hoping for a "historic" achievement highlighting their community's growth in size and political power, reported Al Jazeera.
He said that the goal is not to be the first mayor. "Success is not measured by being the first, but by setting a good example to pave the way for others. We're trying to set a standard that individuals might sound a little different and pray a little different. But, if you do a good job, you won't be the last."
The mayor aspirant is 31 years old and calls himself a "pragmatic progressive". He is a democrat and told those who are uncomfortable with his Muslim religious identity or Arab heritage, "let's talk". He stated that if voters have questions or fears based on things heard in the media or some negative perceptions about Muslim and Arab Americans, they can ask him, reported Al Jazeera.
He says the people in Dearborn see him as someone they grew up with and added that he was raised to make everyone around him feel like family. He further noted that his goal is to improve the quality of life for all residents as the city has local issues like property taxes, public safety concerns, and repeated flooding.
Matthew Stiffler, a researcher at the Dearborn-based Arab American National Museum, told Al Jazeera that Hammoud's victory will make it official that the Arab-American community here is fully immersed in Dearborn. Arab Americans make up 40% of the city's population.