The city of Dearborn has one of the biggest and oldest Arab-American communities in the United States. Most of the members of this community are Lebanese, Iraqi, or descendants of these groups. They share a sense of pride based on the struggles their parents and grandparents overcame to get to the United States, often risking their lives in search for a better future for their children. This sense of pride leads them to try to prove themselves by being the best professionals they can possibly become. So when they are faced with blatant rejection and racism, it cuts deep.
They believe they are as American as everybody else, yet they have been diminished and made to feel like outsiders.
Dearborn is also home to the largest mosque in North America. This fact has brought a lot of controversy regarding the differences between Christianity and Islam. According to one radio talk show host, the life of Muhammad is very consistent with what ISIS and Al-Qaida are doing to spread their religious beliefs. For him this goes against the claim that Islam is a religion of peace.
Some people in Dearborn want things to go back to the way they were before. The unspoken plea is for all those who ‘don’t belong’ to the culture to leave or for their entry to be regulated. They believe this needs to happen soon before all the traditions and the original ‘American dream’ disappear.
An armed civilian militia group in Dearborn is focused on defending freedom and protecting that original culture— also known as the ‘American’ way of life. The group anticipates domestic terrorist attacks and has been carrying out regular training exercises to prepare for these events. Some of the members believe that there might be something going on inside the mosque right now and so they want to be ready for when disaster strikes.
Many people see civilian militia groups such as this as extremists, but the group believes that everybody is part of the militia, the problem is that most don’t know it. They prefer to be called ‘patriots’ because it means they are willing to defend themselves and fight for their rights.
In response, the Muslims have also felt the need to learn to defend and protect themselves.
Are Muslims being persecuted and discriminated against in the United States? You must draw your own conclusions.