Last Friday, The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed titled “Welcome to Dearborn, America’s Jihad Capital,” by Middle East expert Steven Stalinsky. While the usual corners of the political left, including President Biden himself, excoriated the article, no one has proven it to contain a single incorrect fact.
Stalinsky outlined how, in the wake of the Oct. 7 terrorist attack in Israel, the Detroit suburb erupted in pro-Hamas protests. At these, thousands in attendance shouted “Intifada, intifada,” “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” and “America is a terrorist state.”
The Ford Performing Arts Center in Dearborn hosted a rally on Oct. 10 that local outlet The Midwesterner depicted as “Michigan rally cheers Hamas attack.” At the event, Imam Imran Salha of Dearborn’s Islamic Center of Detroit celebrated the butchery before hundreds of attendees, declaring that Israel’s deeds have ignited a “fire in our hearts that will burn that state [Israel] until its demise.” Stalinsky notes that 16 months ago, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security awarded this Islamic center $150,000 in grants.
Not to be outdone, at a rally the following week at Dearborn’s Henry Ford Centennial Library, Imam Usama Abdulghani referred to Oct. 7 as “one of the days of God” and a “miracle come true” and to Hamas terrorists as “honorable.”
Stalinsky also notes various institutions within Dearborn valorizing Hamas, such as the Hadi Institute. That organization oversees an Islamic Montessori school and was found to have hosted a “Commemoration of the Martyrs” in honor of sanctioned Iranian terrorist Qassem Soleimani and other “martyrs” just last month.
Unsurprisingly, as Stalinsky notes, one of the most prominent jihadist sheiks happens to be a born and raised native of Dearborn and current resident. Ahmad Musa Jibril regularly calls for holy war from his house in Michigan, urging his followers to wage jihad against the “infidel West.” He is regarded as the inspiration for the 2017 terror attack on London Bridge. True to form, retweets from an X account in his name celebrated the Oct. 7 massacre.
Despite all these uncontested facts, leftist outrage over The Wall Street Journal noticing them was swift. Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin posted on X, “Bigotry. Hatred. Anti-Arab and Anti-Muslim. If the headline was about any other minority — with the worst stereotype of that group — it would have never gotten through the editors at the WSJ.”
Slotkin’s most pointed criticism lands on the headline, which admittedly is pithy and aggressive, but hardly at odds with the argument Stalinsky presents. Indeed, her critique doesn’t point to one factually incorrect statement — rather, it is his presentation of facts that is somehow bigoted.
Dearborn’s mayor echoed similar sentiments, calling the article, “Racist. Bigoted. Islamophobic.” Biden himself posted on X, “Americans know that blaming a group of people based on the words of a small few is wrong. That’s exactly what can lead to Islamophobia and anti-Arab hate, and it shouldn’t happen to the residents of Dearborn — or any American town. We must continue to condemn hate in all forms.” Quite ironic coming from the president constantly associating his political opposition with “extremism” and turning “MAGA Republicans” into a smear.
Biden’s critique is particularly interesting because it demonstrates a failed logic chain. As National Review Online contributor Pradheep Shanker noted on X, no one believes the term “murder capital” means every person in the city is a murderer. Rather, the phrase means an unusual amount of violence in the city far surpasses that of peer cities.
A quick Google search of this phrase reveals its ubiquity. The Associated Press in 2017 called New York City the “murder capital,” while The New York Times described St. Louis in 2019 as “often considered the nation’s murder capital.” Just last year, The New York Times portrayed El Salvador as formerly the “hemisphere’s murder capital.”
Similarly, no one believes that the term “jihad capital” means every person in Dearborn supports jihad. The terminology suggests a high concentration of extremism in Dearborn that outstrips other cities. Based on Stalinsky’s assembly of facts, is this deduction incorrect?
The angst about the Journal article is revealing. The headline is regarded as far worthier of condemnation than the fact that thousands in one city repeatedly celebrated the indiscriminate massacre and rape of men, women, and children, including dozens of American citizens.
We can debate the utility of the attention-grabbing headline, but it is somewhat ironic that those expressing upset over the piece would probably prefer you not read it. They wish that your knowledge, like theirs, remain confined to the four corners of the headline.
They deliberately don’t engage with the substance of the article. Now ask yourself why.