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Amanda Jaczkowski, a newly-elected city council member, leads the crowd to cheer the Detroit City Football Club in a minor-league soccer game against the Dayton Dynamo Football Club on May 6, 2017. Photo: Addario/Getty Images Reportage

Residents of Hamtramck, Michigan, elected a Muslim mayor and an all-Muslim city council last week, a testament to the city's changing demographics, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Why it matters: It is likely the first U.S. city to elect a Muslim mayor and an all-Muslim city council, the Council on American-Islamic Relations told Axios.

  • The city, which boasts a population of just over 28,400, was once known for its sizable Polish Catholic population. Today, over half of the city's population claims Arab or Asian ancestry, according to the Free Press, citing census ancestry data.
  • Over two-thirds of residents speak a language other than English at home, per Census data.
  • The newly-elected mayor and three newly-elected council members will begin their terms in January. Five of the council's members will be immigrants, and one is a convert to Islam, the Free Press noted.

What they're saying: "The historic election ... will usher in the first city in America to have a Muslim mayor and completely Muslim city council," Dawud Walid, executive director for the Michigan chapter of CAIR, told Axios.

  • "The political voice of Muslims in Southeastern Michigan can no longer be ignored," he added.
  • "I ran for office to solve everyday issues facing our community," Khalil Refai, one of the three council candidates elected last week, said, per the Free Press.
  • "I am a proud Hamtramckan, and I love living in a community that has people with many different religious backgrounds."

Go deeper

19 hours ago - Axios Des Moines

Des Moines' tiny home village project back on the table

Joppa has proposed building a tiny home village at 1661 County Line Road in Des Moines. Drawing courtesy of Joppa

Plans to build a tiny home village in Des Moines are still in the works despite this week's delay before the City Council, the nonprofit behind the project told Axios yesterday.

Why it matters: The village is designed to offer transitional housing to people experiencing homelessness.

The D.C. region prepares for Omicron variant

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Omicron hasn't been identified in D.C. yet, but most experts believe it’s just a matter of time before the new variant is found all across the U.S.

  • Last week three people in the Baltimore area were reported to be the first in Maryland with the variant.

Why it matters: Preliminary Omicron research shows that prior COVID infection may not protect well against the new variant, Axios' Caitlin Owens writes

Charlottesville's Robert E. Lee statue to be melted down

A statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee is transported after being removed from Market Street Park in Charlottesville, Virginia on July 10, 2021. Photo: John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Charlottesville City Council on Tuesday voted to give the bronze statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee removed earlier this year to an African American history museum that plans to melt it down and transform it into public artwork.

Driving the news: The project — called "Swords Into Plowshares" — seeks "to create something that transforms what was once toxic in our public space into something beautiful and more reflective of our entire community’s social values," Andrea Douglas, the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center's executive director, said in a video.