Dearborn Garage Rule A Target On Arab-Americans, Opponents Say

A Dearborn garage rule being considered in Michigan may be targeting Arab-Americans, according to opponents of the proposed ordinance in recent comments to The Associated Press.

City officials are examining the possibility of changing an ordinance on garage use, fearing that people have gotten too comfortable using their garages as second living rooms instead of places for parking their cars. Officials claim the activities have resulted in automobiles clogging side streets, the AP report stated.

Dearborn, a suburb of Detroit, has a population of around 100,000, one-third of whom identify as Arab-Americans. Nabeel Abraham, instructor and administrator at a Dearborn community college, explained that Arab-Americans “migrated over time to the garage as an extension of the living place, and here comes the complaint from people who don’t have that as part of their tradition.”

City officials have denied any kind of Arab-American prejudice with the proposed Dearborn garage rule change, stating that garages were not meant to be used for cooking and sleeping and that if they were to become “crash pads” or “places where meals are prepared,” they would have to be evaluated and taxed appropriately.

Planning commission chairman Gary Errigo said, “I think your home is your home … There was someone who spoke who said they’re sitting in their garage in a lounge chair and a police car drives by and they pack up their chair and run inside. It shouldn’t be like that, and it’s not like that.”

Errigo continued: “The garage ordinance currently says you have to be able to park your car into your garage. Well, there’s a lot of folks who just can’t do that. Not because they live in their garage, but because they have stuff … Man caves, and that kind of thing —- this is the era we’re in.”

The Dearborn garage rule is certainly not the first culture clash between the state of Michigan and its Arab-American community. In April, McDonald’s settled with members of the Muslim community in the amount of $700,000 for false advertising.

The lawsuit began in 2011 when customer Ahmed Ahmed alleged that he was served a piece of chicken in one of the franchises in Michigan that was not slaughtered in accordance with Islamic law as had been suggested.

And nationwide, there have been allegations that Arab-Americans are the targets of NSA spying programs, even when they have nothing to hide.

As for the proposed Dearborn garage rule change, do you agree with the planned changes, or is there actual Arab-American prejudice at work?

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