The opposition to a man, who happens to be Muslim, starting a summer youth camp on his property has turned into a situation of anti-Muslim fear-mongering. The Campaign to TAKE ON HATE is extremely concerned with the backlash rooted in Islamophobia and a gross misunderstanding of the American Muslim community that David Salha has faced because of the proposed youth camp on his property in Lupton, Mich.
Islamophobic comments by residents, according to The Ogemaw County Herald, included:
- “Is there anything written on paper that says this isn’t going to be turned into a terrorist training facility of some kind?”
- “There are a lot of people here that are concerned about this could very easily be a training camp. A lot of people here want to (look into this) because that is a perfect location for a training cell — out of sight and out of everybody’s view and everything else. A hell of a lot can go on in a situation just like that, and it’s too suspicious for me. I think there should be some extensive background investigation into the owners of the property and the people that want to develop the property and their associates ..."
The Ogemaw County Planning Commission voted 4-3 to deny a special-use permit to build the summer youth camp, according to The Huffington Post. We hope that the members of the commission did not use any of the unfounded and hateful comments as a basis for the denial of the proposal. We also strongly encourage community dialogue and education around the diverse populations in Ogemaw County and the surrounding areas, and the richness these cultures bring to the community.
The Campaign to TAKE ON HATE strives to address issues of bias and discrimination, particularly toward Arab and Muslim Americans, and stands against bigotry toward all people.
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