Detroit Regional Chamber > Racial Justice & Economic Equity > First Muslim and Arab American Mayors Make History in Wayne County Mayoral Races

First Muslim and Arab American Mayors Make History in Wayne County Mayoral Races

November 4, 2021
Municipal elections in Metro Detroit saw history-making results for the region’s growing Arab and Muslim American community. Three communities in Wayne County elected their first Muslim and Arab mayors.

Dearborn: Democratic state Rep. Abdullah Hammoud, 31, became Dearborn’s first Muslim and Arab American mayor after defeating Gary Woronchak, a 66-year-old former representative with deep roots in the city.

Mayor-elect Hammoud spoke of a “new era” in Dearborn, a city at the center of the region with the highest concentration of Arabs in the U.S.

“To the young girls and boys who have ever been ridiculed for their faith or ethnicity, to those of you who were ever made to feel that their names were unwelcome, and to our parents and to our elders and to others who are humiliated for their broken English and yet still persisted: Today is proof that you are as American as anyone else,” Hammoud said.

When Hammoud takes office early next year, he will also become the first Muslim, Arab American, and person of color to lead the city of nearly 110,000 residents, which is the seventh-largest in Michigan.

Hammoud’s victory holds national significance, local experts have said, as it illustrates that Arab American communities, through increased political participation, can decisively influence election outcomes and elect representatives from their communities to work on issues that matter to them.

Hamtramck: Challenger Amer Ghalib, 41, will become the city’s first Muslim and Arab American mayor Tuesday as he unseated longtime, four-term Hamtramck Mayor Karen Majewski, 66, in unofficial election results. Both are Democrats.

Dearborn Heights: Appointed Mayor Bill Bazzi, 58, became the first elected Muslim and Arab American mayor for the city of Dearborn Heights as he fended off a challenge from Council Chairwoman Denise Malinowski Maxwell, 61.