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Arab American leaders call for retraction of op-ed calling Dearborn "America's Jihad Capital"

Steve Carmody
Michigan Public

Arab American leaders called on the Wall Street Journal Monday to print a retraction to a recent opinion piece which called Dearborn the nation’s “jihad capital.”

The Friday op-ed suggested Dearborn’s Muslim population — one of the largest per capita in the country — supports Hamas in its war with Israel, as well as Iran-backed Hezbollah, which is part of a parallel conflict on a different Israeli border.

Since the beginning of Israel's war on Hamas in Gaza, many local residents in Dearborn have shown support for Palestinians affected by the fighting and have called for a ceasefire.

At a Monday news conference, leaders including Abed Ayoub, with the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, said the op-ed is part of an effort to silence Arab Americans and legitimate criticism of the Israeli government’s war in Gaza.

“The Wall Street Journal will most likely be the first of many to try these attempts to push these attacks and try to make this community look like ‘the other,’” said Ayoub.

Mariam Charara, the executive director of the Arab American Civil Rights League, also slammed the Wall Street Journal article.

“This was not journalism, but an attack on all Arab Americans,” Charara told reporters, “An attack fanning the flames of islamophobia.”

President Joe Biden and Governor Gretchen Whitmer have criticized the Wall Street Journal as well.

Arab American leaders in speaking Dearborn did not rule out a defamation lawsuit. They also said bodega owners in New York City are considering pulling the Journal from their stores in protest.

The Wall Street Journal has not responded to a request for comment.

Copyright 2024 Michigan Public. To see more, visit Michigan Public.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005.