Hamtramck's Immigrants Learn the Messiness of Democracy

May 28, 2004

Source: The Detroit News


On May 28, 2004 The Detroit News reported, "Masud Khan came looking for America, and found it in a city where many do not speak English. Polish grandmothers in babushkas and Pakistani teens in burkas stroll along the sidewalk outside the Al-Islah Islamic Center where Khan, a Bangladeshi, is secretary. Perched above them, on the roof of the mosque, are three shiny silver loudspeakers. The speakers, and what Kahn plans to broadcast over them beginning today, have spawned petitions, political recalls, death threats and computer viruses. 'They have a right to do what they want,'Kahn says quietly. 'And we have a right to do what we want. It’s America.' For almost a century, immigrants and the sons of immigrants have learned what it is to be American on the gritty streets of Hamtramck. They learned about freedom of religion and freedom of speech, and that sometimes messy thing called democracy."

See also: Islam, Civic