They call it “culture shift.” Locations, in America, that no longer look or feel like America. Documentary filmmaker Dennis Michael Lynch drove through Dearborn late last year, guided by a lifelong resident of the city named Brian. What Brian showed him was not only a culture shift but something closer to a shock.
Other cities across the nation are experiencing the same culture shock. Cedar Riverside in Minneapolis fits the bill, with its massive Somali community often known as “Little Mogadishu,” as does and Hamtramck, Michigan, where the Islamic call to prayer is shouted over loudspeakers and the local city council is now majority-Muslim.
Parts of Amarillo, Texas, have been flooded with so many Muslim refugees that some ethnic enclaves declare to have elected their very own tribal leaders independent of the city government, the city’s mayor has even testified before the Texas Legislature.
Then there’s Dearborn, Michigan, which is now 40 percent Muslim and spilling over into neighboring cities and towns. Women stroll the streets dressed in long, black burqas that cover all but their eyes. Nearly all of the signs on storefronts are in Arabic or some other Middle Eastern dialect.
Arab businessmen buy up commercial properties, force out the American tenants and replace them with comparable businesses run by Muslims, Brian informed Lynch in the documentary. The identical phenomenon is now starting to happen in close by Sterling Heights, Troy, Oak Park and Clinton Township. In Sterling Heights, residents say that Middle Eastern refugees are being housed in a local hotel owned by an Arab-American businessman.
However in Dearborn, the tremendous growth in the Muslim community began more than 20 years ago, fueled by local universities and industry.
“Brian still lives there. He’s not going anywhere,” Lynch said in an interview. “It depends on where you go in the city, but certain segments are 100 percent Muslim. Brian said to be prepared. We went through the areas, went shopping at the food mart. You really don’t feel like you are in America anymore.”