Southeast Michigan is home to one of the largest concentrations of Arab Americans in the country.
The city of Dearborn has the highest concentration of Arab Americans in the nation – about 45 percent – and a Muslim population of over 100,000.
Dearborn is also home to one of the largest mosques in the United States, at the Islamic Center of America.
In 2015 Hamtramck, a blue collar suburb of Detroit that in the 1970s was almost entirely Polish, became the first city in the United States to have a Muslim-majority population and city council.
And you might have missed it, but within the last week, a Michigan physician — from the Henry Ford Hospital in fact – was arrested for performing female genital mutilation on young girls in a medical clinic in Livonia, outside of Detroit. According to MLive, she’s being kept behind bars pending trial after a judge found her ties to Kenya and India signal a risk she could flee the country.
All of this is beginning to concern one particular lawmaker in Michigan, Rep. Michele Hoitenga, R-Manton. Hoitenga is so concerned in fact that she’s proposing legislation to ban Sharia law in the state.
Per MLive, In an email sent to state lawmakers seeking co-sponsors on Monday, Hoitenga said her bill doesn’t specifically mention Sharia Law, but wrote that it would include the religious law association with Islam.
“If you have not heard by now, a doctor in Detroit is being charged with operating an underground clinic that actively engaged in genital mutilation on young girls, essentially practicing a fundamentalist version of Sharia Law,” Hoitenga wrote in the email.
Hoitenga’s planned bill is already drawing opposition from Democrats, including Rep. Abdullah Hammoud, D-Dearborn. Hammoud said Sharia isn’t connected with female genital mutilation, as Hoitenga’s email claimed.
“As a Muslim, I can tell you that I’m not aware of a fundamentalist version or another version that encourages female genital mutilation [FGM]. That’s just not a thing,” Hammoud said.
Well it IS a thing, and it is practiced by Muslims. One can argue the origins, but cannot dispute the facts.
Lawmakers opposed to Hoitenga’s proposed legislation said it could be used to ban religious practices, referencing parts of Hoitenga’s email that called for a prohibition of “the practice of foreign laws.”
But Hoitenga said in a statement, “It’s important to affirm our state and federal constitutions and the freedoms they provide, as they are constantly under assault. A clear message must be sent that our state will not tolerate the application of any law that would result in inhumane actions against women and children, even if such are accepted in other countries.”
Now this does bring up an interesting point…let’s talk about male circumcision, which dates from ancient times, primarily among Semitic peoples (i.e. Jews) and became a widely-accepted practice in the Western world in the 20th century. In fact, one estimate says approximately 70 percent of the current American male population is circumcised.
So is this religious or cultural? Or medical? Is this an inhumane action against children?
While it’s difficult not to agree the practice of female genital mutilation — and indeed the way it is practiced – is an order of magnitude more serious than male circumcision (watch “The Honor Diaries” if you have any question), it seems there are actually two issues here: the horrific practice of FGM and the application of “foreign” i.e. Sharia law.
In an attempt at “political correctness” perhaps, Hoitenga opts for a more generic term. But folks, let’s call a spade a spade (oops, that’s racist) and if it’s Sharia law she’s worried about, then just come out and say it.
[This article was written by Michele Hickford, author of Do I Need To Slap You?]