February 3, 2016

Hamtramck Michigan, a city whose population is now majority Muslim, has been in the news for many years now, but not for the reasons the folks at Fox 'News' would like. Hamtramck made a splash in 2004 with its changing demographics, but without the negative fanfare that is customary for any media portrayal of Islam in America. Therefore, it's not a city that is on the radar for most Americans, myself included. Fox's axe-wielding half-wit, Pete Hegseth put together a media package on the Michigan city, designed to scare the living daylights out of the Fox viewer.

Doocy ominously asks,

'What. Is it. Like. To live there?'

Because they recently elected a majority Muslim city council, he likens the city to a foreign country. In 2013, it became the first majority U.S. Muslim city, with a population of over 22,000 according to 2010 Census data.

Over the past thirty years, a large number of immigrants from the Middle East (especially Yemen), South Asia (especially Bangladesh), and Southeastern Europe (especially Bosnia and Herzegovina) have moved to the city. As of the 2010 American Community Survey, the city's foreign born population stood at 41.1%, making it Michigan's most internationally diverse city

Playing a call to prayer in the background, the suspicious tone is set for the viewer. Hegseth interviews a few Muslim-American residents, questioning one of them for returning to Yemen for a few years to learn the language and customs of his many relatives who live there. They thwart his attempts to act defensive when he brings up the alleged 120+ ISIS plots that have been derailed. The Muslim men he interviewed vow to alert others if any nefarious plans are drummed up by fellow Muslims in the community, dispelling the myth of collusion with the terrorists.

So Hegseth turns to the older, white, Polish-Catholic demographic of the city for their opinions on this Muslim invasion. They are rather wary and cautious when it comes to embracing a foreign culture to their city, and that's putting it nicely. An older man in a diner says,

I wonder what's going to happen to the churches now, because there's less and less people attending it? So, instead of three we might end up with two.

The next scene is set to the sound of a call to prayer from one of the mosques.

HEGSETH: 'What you hear there: that's the Islamic call to prayer. It BLASTS out five times a day throughout the streets of Hamtramck, Michigan. The city has as many as seven mosques, more per capita than anywhere else in the country.

There's a statue honoring Pope John Paul II's visit to the city in 1987, yet, hardly any Christian landmarks appear in this report and the piece is dominated by Islamic imagery.

Credit: Washington Post

The primary concern of this municipality should be its ominous economic similarity to Flint, all thanks to Governor Snyder's irresponsible system of appointing Emergency City Managers.

The once-thriving factory town now struggles with one of the highest poverty rates in Michigan. In 2009, American Axle shut down its plant in Hamtramck, laying off hundreds of workers. There is a new class of entrepreneurs, including Igor Sadikovic, a young Bosnian immigrant who plans to open a coffee shop with an art gallery by next summer, and Rebecca Smith, who owns a handbag store that employs Muslim women.

But the new businesses have not been enough to offset the loss of a manufacturing base and reductions in state revenue sharing. Since 2000, Michigan has twice appointed an emergency manager to the city, which has an annual operating budget of $22 million.

There's also a controversy over the Emergency Manager's secret appointment of a new police chief. The despotic power of Snyder's appointed Emergency Managers have raised a few eyebrows, but Fox 'News' job is to distract and deflect the attention from the real issues and divert them to the run-of-the-mill scary Muslim story du jour. Pete Hegseth uses dog whistle phrases like "what's not being said has some on edge," to put terror in the heart of the viewer. He uses the call to prayer sound several times throughout his report.

Fox and Friends would like you to think that the residents of Hamtramck are trying to create an Arab city straight out of Iraq or Syria, but myriad ethnic groups from all over the globe make it anything but monolithic. The viewer is encouraged to lump these Muslims together as 'the others' and to look upon them with the customary suspicion and xenophobic loathing that Fox 'News' incites in its audience.

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