DEARBORN (CBS Detroit) There are people dedicated to forwarding the notion that America’s city with the largest Muslim population is a haven of Sharia law, a place where women are stoned for stepping out of line.
Armed marches on Dearborn have been planned by Christians who say the Muslim community threatens American freedoms and values. Bombs were even threatened after a FOX News report erroneously claimed women had been stoned in Dearborn and there was an honor killing over condoms.
Host Bill O’Reilly later apologized for the report, which he said was meant as satire.
But that didn’t stop someone from posting a Facebook video last week purporting to show that Dearborn was under Sharia law. Sharia is an Islamic penal code, based on religious beliefs that dictate prayers, diet and fasting. Punishments include chopping off the hands of thieves, stoning adulterers, and killing those who deny Allah.
Christmas is, of course, not celebrated.
Nearby Hamtramck does have a majority Muslim City Council — the first in the country.
And now there’s this: Dearborn was ranked by the website onlyinyourstate.com as one of the best towns to celebrate Christmas.
Dearborn is ranked alongside such classic Christmas haunts as Mackinac Island, Traverse City, and even Frankenmuth, home of the world-famous 24-7 Christmas holiday store Bronner’s.
Dearborn is praised for its Holiday Nights event at historic Greenfield Village at the Henry Ford Museum. “During the holiday season, it gets even better, with a unique lantern-lit adventure through a living snow globe filled with skating, fireworks and live music,” the report says.
Who could argue with that? Families come from miles around to enjoy the horse-drawn carriage rides under the lamp lights, ice skate, sing with carolers and see the historic buildings all lit up.
But how to reconcile that cozy image with the rumors and innuendo about Dearborn? Hamtramck Mayor Karen Majewski said, after an out-of-state councilman ranted about the perils of Muslims in government, that moving forward is the only way to fight fear.
“(The Muslim majority) is a point of pride for the ethnic communities and it’s a point of interest for people, but I think once the news cycle blows over, we’ll just get back down to business as usual,” said the mayor who first took office in 2006.