house resolution no.182

Reps. Farhat and Aiyash offered the following resolution:

A resolution to condemn the Wall Street Journal opinion piece, “Welcome to Dearborn, America’s Jihad Capital,” as racist and Islamophobic.

Whereas, On February 2nd, 2024, the Wall Street Journal published a biased, fear-mongering opinion piece titled “Welcome to Dearborn, America’s Jihad Capital.” The author, Steven Stalinsky, writes that “[m]any current or onetime Dearborn residents have been convicted of terror-related crimes in recent years,” stoking fear and paranoia about Michiganders in the minds of his readers. Stalinsky paints a picture of protesters “with kaffiyehs covering their faces” and Muslim leaders delivering “antisemitic sermons,” pitting Jews and Muslims against each other despite the fact that members of both faiths have been subjected to persecution for centuries. The author marvels at the fact that this could occur, not in the Middle East, but in a suburb of Detroit. Referring to “[w]hat’s happening in Dearborn” as a potential “national-security issue” and imploring “[c]ounterterrorism agencies at all levels [to] pay close attention” only makes Dearborn residents even more vulnerable to bias, prejudice, and unfair scrutiny. Arab-Americans have a long-standing history of serving our nation, both at home and abroad, and implying that the members of this community are a threat to America is an insult. The hateful rhetoric used in this article could lead to hate violence, posing a threat to the residents of Dearborn and to Arabs and Muslims across the state of Michigan; and

Whereas, These statements come at a time when hatred and division are already on the rise. Nationwide, FBI statistics show that the number of single-bias incidents increased from 10,530 in 2021 to 11,288 in 2022. The proportion of hate crimes motivated by religious bias has also increased in recent years, both in Michigan and across the country. Most of the religiously motivated hate crimes committed in Michigan are grounded in anti-Jewish or anti-Islamic sentiments. According to the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee, since October 7, 2023, there have been many incidents of hate-motivated violence targeting Arabs, Palestinians, and Muslims, including the fatal stabbing of a six-year-old Palestinian American boy and the shooting of three Palestinian American students; and

Whereas, Media outlets have a collective responsibility to help build trust among different peoples, and to refuse to give voice to those who would perpetuate stereotypes and prejudice. Our leaders have recognized this. Following the publication of Stalinsky’s column, the President wrote, “We must continue to condemn hate in all forms,” U.S. Senator Peters called the article “anti-Arab, anti-Muslim & wrong,” and the Governor stated, “Islamophobia and all forms of hate have no place in Michigan, or anywhere. Period.” The Mayor of Dearborn reported “an alarming increase in bigoted and Islamophobic rhetoric online targeting the city of Dearborn,” and he has called on the Wall Street Journal to do better. The Wall Street Journal has failed in its journalistic responsibility and must be held accountable for any harm inflicted directly by the article or by those it radicalizes; and

Whereas, The City of Dearborn is a thriving community and a beacon for those seeking to realize the American Dream. Thousands of immigrants have flocked to this area over the years, in part to take advantage of the numerous jobs created by the Ford Motor Company. The birthplace of Henry Ford, Dearborn is home to Ford World Headquarters; a Research and Engineering Center, which is undergoing a ten-year transformation into a massive campus where designers, engineers, and developers can work side-by-side; and the Rouge factory complex, which has become a model of 21st-century sustainable design. A true cultural melting pot, Dearborn has become the fastest-growing city in the state of Michigan. Dearborn is a city that stands against hatred in all its forms, whether it is anti-Arab, anti-Palestinian, anti-Muslim, or anti-Jewish; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives, That we condemn the Wall Street Journal opinion piece, “Welcome to Dearborn, America’s Jihad Capital,” as racist and Islamophobic; and be it further

Resolved, That we call on the Wall Street Journal to retract this article and issue a public apology to the City of Dearborn.