Residents of Hamtramck, Michigan, have called for their mayor to be censured by the City Council, declaring, among other things, that Amer Ghalib’s comments about Jews and African Americans bring shame to the city and make it harder for people to live in harmony. In response, Ghalib called Focus on Western Islamism (FWI) and the Middle East Forum (MEF) “opportunistic parasites” for bringing his comments to light.
The call for Ghalib’s censure came during the public comment session at a July 26 meeting of the Hamtramck City Council. In addition to condemning Ghalib for insulting the former mayor, Karen Majewski, whom he defeated in a 2021 election, his critics highlighted the hateful statements he posted online about African Americans and Jews prior to his election.
Making the case for censure, Hamtramck resident Alyssa Wolyniec, cited a July 7, 2022 article published by FWI and MEF that documented the mayor using or affirming bigoted statements.
“This article called out specific and numerous examples of this mayor using racist and antisemitic rhetoric which was shocking and appalling,” she said, adding that the hateful things he said were not even mentioned at the previous city council meeting, which took place on July 12, five days after the article was first published.
In a June 1, 2020 Facebook post, Ghalib mocked black justice demonstrations using a racist meme. He suggested that African Americans are alcoholics and looters. He “liked” a post calling black people “animal” and “inhuman.” He criticized Arab world leaders for being secret Jews, a classic anti-Semitic trope, and he endorsed another post referring to Jews as “monkeys” who tax “the air we breathe.” Ghalib also bragged of getting people to vote for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, by filling out “families’ ballot cards myself,” adding, “Pray for the Jewish guy, don’t let him down.”
“Frankly,” How can the entire community feel adequately represented by this mayor when he clearly has contempt for many of us as presented by his actual comments, cited by his own social media. No one is putting words in his mouth. His comments are shocking and stand on their own.”
Wolyniec highlighted Ghalib’s apparent admission to filling out other peoples’ ballots in her time at the microphone.
“Hamtramck has a history of voter fraud, and this is another example of giving the city yet more bad publicity,” she said. In 2014, four men from Hamtramck pleaded guilty to “illegally possessing and delivering voters’ absentee ballots” to the City Clerk’s office during the city’s August 2013 primary election. One of the four men was Armani Asad, an unsuccessful candidate for city council.
Another Hamtramck resident, Linda Wolyniec, (Alyssa’s mother), scolded Ghalib for harming the city’s reputation with his comments. “It is a public relations nightmare, one which you brought upon yourself and the entire city,” she said. She also condemned Ghalib for calling former Hamtramck Mayor Karen Majewski a “drama queen” and a “skillful liar” following a controversy regarding the removal of a gay pride flag on a city-owned flagpole. (Majewski allegedly blamed Ghalib for its removal, he denied the charge.)
At the end of the public comment session, Ghalib responded to the call for his censure by declaring, “I will never act like a sore loser and act to divide the community and I would never use resources or sources of … fake news that are xenophobic, racist and they only grow where [there’s] contamination of dirt and hatred.”
Continuing, Ghalib declared, “I call them opportunistic parasites and anyone who would use those sources as an authentic source of news is just like one of them.”
Members of the City Council have not responded to email inquiries about the prospect of censuring Ghalib for his outbursts. Ghalib, who has not responded to an email requesting comment, has deleted the offensive posts from his Facebook page. They can be seen online here.