The mayor of Hamtramck, Michigan, Ameer Haiderah Ghalib, was recently exposed for mocking black political demonstrations and endorsing comments that referred to African Americans as “animal” and “inhuman.” He also accused Arab world leaders of being secret Jews and “liked” a Facebook post calling Jews “monkeys” who tax “the air we breathe.”
Ghalib, the first Muslim mayor in Hamtramck’s 100-year history, even admitted to committing a potential case of voter fraud by filling out absentee ballots for about 20 families during the 2020 presidential primary. Both the FBI and the Michigan secretary of state’s office have looked into the allegation.
Yet, in the era of “cancel culture,” when activist reporters have all but abandoned investigative reporting in favor of opinionated call-outs, not a column inch has been devoted to documenting the misdeeds of an internationally known public official. Black political activists have failed to march a single city block in opposition to Ghalib’s anti-black racism, and Jewish rights organizations are silent in the face of antisemitic dog whistles.
Ghalib’s ability to escape consequences for statements that would ruin another elected official — or for that matter, a private citizen — is indicative of a broader societal trend that privileges Islamists and lets them off the hook for bad behavior.
Recent history presents many examples. Islamists who slander Jews or call for their extermination are offered jobs on government anti-racism commissions. Muslim extremists whose social media accounts are littered with anti-black commentary have been invited to speak at Black Lives Matter rallies or selected to host discussions on Muslim-black solidarity.
Ghalib is no exception. The 42-year-old Caribbean medical school student shared an offensive meme on Facebook that is frequently traded in white supremacist chat rooms and racist message boards. The image portrayed an African American overloaded with liquor bottles after presumably looting stores during the George Floyd protests.
Ghalib captioned the meme to suggest that the black man, whom he calls “Mr. Heineken,” considered looting alcohol a “duty” to acquire “essential nutrition.” He endorsed comments in the same thread describing African Americans as alcoholics who “will never behave unless they are governed by law, force, and the police who know them very well.”