Politics and Prejudices: No, Dearborn is not under Sharia law 

Brian Stone is a gay Buddhist college student who has lived almost his whole life in Dearborn, except for four years in the Navy. He's also cheerfully mad as hell over Sharia law.

Last week, he and his buddy and fellow veteran Adam ran around the city and took pictures of Adam grinning and holding a sign saying "DEARBORN SHARIA LAW!" The pictures show him outside notorious Muslim institutions like a Catholic school, a Honeybaked Ham store, and, ahem, a strip club.

"We'd have gone to more places," Stone told me, "but we got to Buffalo Wild Wings, and Adam had to have beer. He'd be up for invading the moon if it involved beer."

More on the mad Buddhist later. But first, it's important to remember that every respectable Muslim-hating maniac knows Dearborn is an Islamic hellhole governed by Sharia law.

That means, among other things, having your hands cut off for stealing; being flogged, if you are a woman, for taking your burqa off; and death for converting to Christianity.

I first learned this five years ago from Sharron Angle, a nutty tea party Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Nevada. Unfortunately, she was defeated, probably by the notoriously overwhelming Muslim vote in Las Vegas.

True, Dearborn's mayor, an Irishman named Jack O'Reilly, went on TV to say this was crazy. Yes, Dearborn had seven mosques, but it also had something like 60 churches.

"There's no Sharia law in Dearborn — it isn't even talked about!" he said. Angle knew better, of course, mostly because she'd never been there. "We're talking about a militant terrorist situation," she said. The only other place as bad as Dearborn, she charged, was someplace called Frankford, Texas.

CNN soon discovered that Frankford ceased to exist in 1975, except for one small church and a Christian cemetery.

Obviously, them Islams done killed everyone. Sadly, Sharron never got the power to smoke the Dearborn rats out, but from time to time some gallant patriot tries to alert the nation. Last month, after the massacre at Charlie Hebdo in Paris, it was a retired general's turn.

Jerry Boykin, who used to constantly get in trouble during the Bush administration for anti-Muslim statements, has the scoop on Dearborn, all right. These days, he is a vice president for something called the Family Research Council.

Earlier this month, he went on right-wing talk radio to tell people the situation in Sharia-ruled Dearborn is so bad, the police refuse to go into the town except in an emergency.

"Talk to the police in Detroit and ask them how often they go into Dearborn," said Boykin, who has also charged that Dearborn could easily be confused with Damascus.

Well, Crazy Jerry does have a point. It's true that Detroit police never go to Dearborn. However, that might be because Dearborn is a separate city and has its own police force.

The nutty general was the last straw for Brian Stone. Now 28, he had the guts to come out as gay in high school more than a decade ago. Naturally, some people beat the shit out of him.

"I received death threats," he told me. But a few fellow students were supportive. A guy named Mohammed told him, "Bro, somebody tries to mess with you, you tell me."

Stone told me, "It dawned [on me] over time that even though school had been hell, I'd never heard a word against me from a Muslim. They were too busy trying to defend their community of Americans from the same people that wanted to keep me from having equal rights."

Every religion has its crazies, he knows. Stone grew up a Lutheran until he was "thrown out of Sunday school for asking too many questions." But, he says, "Look. If this place was under Sharia law, I'd be dead in three different ways — I'm gay, I'm a veteran. I'm Buddhist. Would I live here if that was the case?"

He sighed. He knows what it is to be an outsider.

"You can imagine, then, how upsetting it is to hear people making generalizations about the Arabic community and my hometown. In my short life, I've learned why so many Muslims stay in Dearborn. It's the same reason gay people stick together in places like San Francisco. It's because this is the one place in America where they're not just safe — it's a place where people really value them for who they are."

Unfortunately, Brian Stone's eloquent example probably won't move whack jobs like Boykin and Angle. They'd probably see him as just a pansy pervert. Lost on them, sadly, is the delicious irony that a gay kid and a bunch of Muslims are more American than they'll ever be.

Inshallah.

And if you need to be depressed: By the way, know what Jerry Boykin's job in George W. Bush's administration was? He wasn't just some wacky desk jockey, but undersecretary of defense for intelligence!

Earlier, he was deputy director of special activities at the CIA! If you do a little digging, you can learn that he's had a career that would make the Three Stooges proud.

Remember way back in 1980, when the Army failed to rescue the hostages in Iran, mainly because our aircraft smashed into each other in the desert? Good old Jerry was Delta Force's operations office on that one.

True, eight American soldiers burned to a crisp, and the mission was a humiliating disaster.

But that wasn't the takeaway for Jerry. What mattered was that none of the real Christians bought the farm.

He called it a "miracle."

"Not one man who stood in the desert and pleaded for God to go with us was killed or even injured that night," he told the Washington Post.

Sometimes, you have to wonder how the hell this country has survived.

More by Jack Lessenberry

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