By Charles Sercombe
Although the Hamtramck mayoral election is now long-over, the battle between the former and current mayors continues.
And it’s all playing out – where else? – on various Hamtramck-centric Facebook pages.
The split has largely been over social cultural issues, such as LGBTQ rights and, specifically, Ghalib’s support for banning the display of pride flags on public property.
That war of words has now escalated to the point where Ghalib, a Yemeni-American, is calling former mayor Karen Majewski an “Islamophobe.”
What set that off is when Majewski posted a photo of a flyer or sticker that was found in a city garbage can that had an illustration of Ghalib’s face with the word “terrorist” printed underneath.
On her Facebook page, she said:
“Found in the trash on JC this morning. I can’t take credit for creating, only for sharing.”
When there was pushback from some Arab-Americans who said Majewski is implying that all Arab-Americans are terrorists, she took down the photo and issued this apology:
“My apologies if anyone saw the photo I posted as an attack on Muslims. I don’t know the intent of the person who created the sticker. I interpreted it as criticism of an opportunistic homophobe who is allowing terrorism against the LGBTQ+ community and its allies to run rampant in Hamtramck, and then blaming the victim. That is my lens.”
Ghalib shot back on his Facebook page, saying:
“Islamophobia at its extreme.
“This is what the whole story is all about.Her true colors are shown.
“If you disagree with them on something, then you are a homophobe, bigot and terrorist, just because you are a Muslim who embraces his values without trying to enforce them on others, in hope that others would respect your values and do the same.
“It looks like she wakes up every morning, walks on the street looking inside every trash can to see what the world news updates are, and suddenly she saw my picture inside trash can number 37.
“What a coincidence!
“She is not the one who created that, she just found it during her early daily morning trash rounds!! So don’t misunderstand her.
“She then apologized to everyone, except me, confirming in her apology WHAT she didn’t in her original post: that I’m supporting terrorism!! Implying that she agrees with what’s written on the picture: TERRORIST!
“Message with respect to all the elected officials who stood in solidarity with her not too long ago, including the Muslim elected officials.
“Are those your Allies that you keep talking to me about?
“Someone really needs attention, including medical one!”
Others also criticized Majewski on social media.
Amed Ghanim replied:
“I expected an apology not doubling down on calling the Muslim community: terrorists. Islamophobia is real.”
Ghanim later added this:
“This is not just a personal attack. This is an attack on every American Muslim and we should not let it go without exposing extremists like her who pretend to be progressives but in fact they are racists at heart.”
Majewski further added to her comments:
“I didn’t automatically think, ‘this sticker calls him a terrorist because he’s a Muslim,’ but rather, ‘this sticker calls him a terrorist because his rhetoric encourages others to commit acts that terrorize others.’
“Which is what stochastic terrorism is. (And stochastic terrorism is currently a major focus of a general, national public discussion.) So not making a Muslim connection was my own myopia, coming from my concern about what is going on right here in Hamtramck, right now, with the pulse of this community that I am witnessing, in conjunction with incidents across the country.
“For that myopia I have already apologized, and I do so again, as well as deleting the photo. But the discussion of the mayor’s (and council’s) role in the current wave of vandalism and intimidation has been ongoing and passionate well before today.
“I’m also aware of the rhetoric blaming the new administration for various ills — and the prejudice underlying some of that rhetoric — just as I’m aware of the rhetoric blaming my own administration(s). …”
Since Majewski’s posting, the back-and-forth has stopped, so it appears the feud is over, at least for the moment.
Posted Sept. 1, 2023