2021: Hamtramck Elects First Non-Polish Mayor

November 2, 2021 all-day

In an historic fashion, Hamtramck voters elected their first non-Polish mayor this week.

Yemeni immigrant Amer Ghalib, 41, will lead the city. The registered nurse who is Muslim and working toward becoming a medical doctor, defeated Karen Majewski, 66, a 16-year incumbent.

Ghalib secured 68% of the vote and said on Tuesday that his win was “a real example that the American Dream is alive.”

In addition, Khalil Refai, Amanda Jaczkowski and Adam Albarmaki, who are all Muslim were elected to the City Council. The legislative body now consists of three Yemeni Americans, two Bangladeshi Americans and a Polish-American Muslim. They are all Muslim — making it likely the only such City Council in the nation.

Hamtramck, a city bordering Detroit and Highland Park, has about 28,000 residents. Through much of its 100-year history, Hamtramck has been predominantly made up of Polish immigrants and their children. Today, the city’s population is believed to be more than 50% Muslim.

The Hamtramck election was one of three in metro Detroit that yielded history-making results for the region’s growing Arab- and Muslim-American community.

State Rep. Abdullah Hammoud (D-Dearborn) became Dearborn’s first Muslim and Arab American mayor after defeating Gary Woronchak, a former state House member.

Source: Ken Coleman, “Hamtramck makes history with Muslim mayor and City Council”, Michigan Advance, November 5, 2021.