It has been another important year for Arab Americans and we have been fortunate to cover many of the more important issues affecting our vibrant community in Michigan. We hope that with this recap, our readers can gain a sense of the many ways Arab Americans continue to play an integral role in our state, its economy and its lifeways. We do our best to see these issues in an objective light, with concerns to our community at the center. As thoroughly interlinked as we are to our state, Arab Americans share many of the same hopes and fears as any other Michigander, or with any other American for that matter.
Below is a summary of some of the highlights from 2019, categorized by month. All issues are available to be viewed on our website: https://www.arabamericannews.com/flash-newspaper/
Thousands mourn tragic loss of Arab American family killed in drunk driving wrong way crash
The year started out with a tragedy as thousands mourned the passing of the beloved Abbas family at the Islamic Center of America in early January. The family was killed at the hands of a drunk driver in a tragic car accident on 1-75 in Lexington, Kentucky while on their way back home from a vacation in Florida.
Fadwa Hammoud: First Arab American and Muslim solicitor general in U.S. history
AAPAC vice president and Dearborn notable Fadwa Hammoud made history by becoming the first Arab American and Muslim solicitor general in U.S. history. She is part of a new investigation into the Flint water crisis along with Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.
Fed’s immigration sting lands local Palestinian student and other in detention
Due to a controversial sting operation that many said teetered on entrapment, a Dearborn Heights resident and Palestinian student was detained and subsequently deported after she signed up for classes at a fake university set up by the federal government in Farmington.
Thousands of mourners lined up to pay tribute to a “a true hero”, former Congressman John D. Dingell
Many lined up at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center in Dearborn to mourn the passing of the longest-serving member of Congress in U.S. history, John Dingell Jr. The former Congressman was known as a friend to many Arab Americans and the legacy of his relationship with the community lives on in his widow, U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn).
The Arab American News celebrates 35 years of telling the community’s stories
The Arab American News staff, editors and publisher reflected on 35 years as the community’s main source of news, with a gala in March that brought together many friends, supporters and community leaders in celebration of the paper’s long history.
Dearborn Heights mayor, City Council deeply divided about possible forensic audit
A resolution drafted by two Dearborn Heights City Council members stirred controversy, debate and a fiasco that has lasted the better part of an entire year. The resolution sought the services of a private law firm to conduct a forensic audit into the city’s book after allegations of misappropriation of funds were levied at Mayor Daniel Paletko’s administration. After many legal battles, the mayor has yet to sign the resolution.
Community mourns Mohammed Turfe, a founder and leader
The local Arab American community mourned the loss of one of its influential and successful leaders, Mohammed Turfe, who died at the age of 88 on Wednesday, March 27 after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Turfe was one of the main founders of the Islamic Center of America at its much smaller original location on Joy Road in Detroit in 1950. The ICA’s current location in Dearborn is considered to be the largest mosque in North America.
Rep. Dingell hosts first iftar in Dearborn, plans to make it an annual tradition
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn), a dear friend to the community, held her first community iftar dinner at Byblos Banquet, pledging to make the event and annual tradition. Other Michigan politicians held their own Iftar dinners, joining in acts of solidarity with Muslim Americans as they observed the holy month of Ramadan across the nation.
Nasser Beydoun named co-chair of BRIDGES
Nasser Beydoun, the chairman of the Arab American Civil Rights League (ACRL), became co-chair of BRIDGES, an important partnership between federal law enforcement agencies and leaders in the Arab American and Middle Eastern communities in Metro Detroit.
New “Dearborn Girl” podcast brings women’s perspective to the Arab American story
Creators Yasmeen Kadouh and Rima Imad Fadlallah launched their new podcast to much local and national attention. The podcast continues to be a success and has encouraged other Arab Americans to tell their stories through the format.
Attorney Mona Fadlallah appointed Dearborn Heights magistrate
Attorney and AAPAC President Mona Fadlallah was appointed a part-time magistrate in the 20th District Court.
Nawal Hamadeh talks about her charter schools and the controversial graduation speeches
Hamadeh Educational Services founder and director Nawal Hamadeh sat down with The Arab American News to discuss her schools’ achievements and responded to the controversial graduation speech given by two students critical of her schools. Hamadeh Educational Services recently broke ground for the construction of Star International Academy Canton.
Whitmer, Evans and Duggan join local Ethnic and Minority Media Census Conference
Local politicians joined a conference organized by New Michigan Media in its effort to highlight the importance of the 2020 Census for local ethnic communities. The census efforts will ramp up in the coming months and The Arab American News is committed to doing its part in getting the word out about complete count efforts in Metro Detroit.
Councilman Dave Abdallah talks career, economic development and service ahead of election
As he prepared for August primary election in Dearborn Heights, City Council member and real estate superstar Dave Abdallah reflected on his career and the many ways he cherishes his service to his community. Abdallah went on to maintain his seat on the council in November’s general election.
August primaries brought surprises and continued success for Arab Americans in politics
We covered primary races in Dearborn Heights and Hamtramck, two Arab American hubs in Michigan. Other communities around Metro Detroit also geared up for primaries, with many cities seeing influxes of Arab American businesses and residents.
Arab American delegation discusses “terrorist watchlist” with federal officials in Washington
Community leaders, including our publisher Osama Siblani, met with federal officials to discuss their concerns about the so-called terrorist watchlist and its implications for the community’s civil rights. Much was revealed in ensuing weeks about the watchlist, including the sale of the information held on federal servers to private entities.
Abed Hammoud: A look at the former assistant U.S. Attorney’s career and contributions
A profile of founding AAPAC member and community notable Abed Hammoud’s long and stellar legal and political career. Thanks to AAPAC and Hammoud’s work, many young Arab Americans have now pushed through barriers and gained important civil, legal and political positions.
Judge Helal Farhat: A brilliant career at a young age
At his investiture ceremony in Dearborn, Third Circuit Court Judge Helal Farhat, a tireless worker on behalf of justice, celebrated his oath of office with friends, family and supporters.
Arab American and Chaldean Council celebrates 40 years
The ACC celebrated 40 years in 2019. A profile of its operations in the revitalized Seven Mile district illuminated the organization’s profound impact on the Metro Detroit region. The revitalization of the historic Chaldean neighborhood is just one of ACC’s many projects in the tri-county area, focusing on immigrant and refugee resettlement and important public health and behavioral services.
AAPAC’s 22nd annual banquet
The Arab American Political Action committee celebrated is 22 years of commitment and service to the community at a dinner gala in Dearborn. The organization also gave its list of endorsements for the year’s general elections.
2019 general election coverage
The AAPAC-endorsed BRICS Dearborn Schools bond failed by a narrow margin at the polls, while Dearborn Heights maintained the status quo at its City Council and Hamtramck saw new faces on its Council.
Arab American leaders criticize Gov. Whitmer’s decision to ignore community concerns before departing for Israel
Arab American leaders, civil rights advocates and activists seeking justice for the people of Palestine joined in public outrage over an official trip to Israel by the Michigan governor. Whitmer ignored community concerns by not informing it of her decision to visit the country. In December, another Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson took a similar trip without consultation with Michigan’s Arab Americans.
Paralyzed man walks again thanks to Arab American doctor’s innovative procedure
A historic medical trial lead by Dr. Mohamad Bydon, a neurosurgeon and spine specialist at the Mayo Clinic, has yielded miraculous results for a patient who was paralyzed from the neck down due to a spinal cord injury.
Judge dismisses all criminal sexual conduct charges against Ibrahim Aljahim
After long and controversial preliminary exam, which we covered extensively, a judge in Hamtramck dismissed all charges against Yemeni political activist Ibrahim Aljahim. Aljahim was accused of sexual assault on a high school student with special needs. Wayne County prosecutors have since appealed the judge’s decision.
Community rallies to spare the life of Dearborn Heights immigrant Median El-Moustrah
U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) joined the family and friends of Lebanese American Median El-Moustrah to plead for humanity as ICE prepared to deport the severely ill father and businessman.