Neighborhoods Jul 22, 2019 at 5:29 pm

What we can learn from Detroit's Muslim community



Thank you Charles, this is a really great article, Detroit reminds me of what Oakland used to be like, before it was taken over by "tech-bro" culture.

(who could have guessed that a culture created by young white suburban males would be so toxic?)


"growing lack of?"

Come on, The Stranger, I know you were itching to get out the door, but you're supposed to be a professional scribblers.

Here are some adjectives your title-writer can use instead (this time for free, reasonable fees apply with extended use):

"Dwindling," "shrinking," "collapsing," "disappearing," "evaporating," "diminishing," "atrophied," "eroding," "expiring," "vanishing," "receding."


Another good one Chuckie. Leave that finance stuff to the eggheads.


Are there any well run, democratic Islamic countries?

Asking for a friend who lived in the Mideast and Malaysia for 20 years and says there aren’t.



Sure, the United States of America. There's like three and a half million Muslims living here, and it's as much their country as anyone else's.

That's how "democratic" works, isn't it?


@4 way to be a turd and miss the point completely, opting instead to post something douchey that exposes your doucheyness.

Nice story Charles, people should take note.


@5 We’re a republic with no state religion mate.

So again, any majority Islamic countries that are well run and democratic?


Hamtramck is not part of Detroit.
It is surrounded by the city, but it is a city unto itself.
I hope you enjoyed your visit.


Well, Indonesia is more democratic than the U.S. in the sense of one person, one vote. And their president is smarter and more stable than ours.


@2: It appears the headline writer was indeed drowning in an absence of adjectives.


@9 then move to Jakarta and set up a ‘Slog’ and write critical and mocking articles about Mohammed and Islam and let us know how long you stay out of prison.


@8 Hamtramck is also majority Islamic... and democratic! Right here in the U!S!A!


@12 You sure do seem uncomfortable talking about American Muslims.

Every time anyone mentions Americans who practice Islam, you issue these weird challenges to go think about some country, any country, other than America.

Why don't you want to talk about Americans?


"Indonesia is more democratic than the U.S"

"Jakarta's Christian governor jailed for blasphemy against Islam"

"An Indonesian court has sentenced a Buddhist woman to 18 months in prison for blasphemy after she was accused of insulting Islam."

"A woman who brought a dog into a mosque in Indonesia is facing a jail sentence for blasphemy, despite doctors saying she requires psychiatric care."

And Indonesia is held up as a model of a "tolerant Islamic" country.


"Hamtramck is also majority Islamic... and democratic!"

Apparently they've learned a lot from western and US democratic traditions. There is hope for the world.


@14 - no shit. The article had nothing to do with an Islamic theocracy (or any other kind). I think many of us would agree that a theocracy of any stripe is inevitably going to be a clusterfuck. The Founders apparently agreed, which is why we separate church & state. Treating Americans of all religions (or none) equally is the best way to keep the US from falling into the sort of religious war disaster that has happened to too many other places.

As an aside, anyone have any idea what the 1776 term for "clusterfuck" would have been?


The problem with your story Charles is that in Seattle the homeless man would not have left quietly.

He would have been aggressive and entitled. He would have stood his ground and demanded to know why he should come back in the morning. He would have had a mental disorder fueling his aggressiveness, and he would not have taken "no" (or come back tomorrow morning) for an answer.

A land of rainbows and unicorns sounds wonderful, but that is not the world we live in.


Called to mind is "Elysium", the movie. Rich Seattle inhabits a station that is similarly beyond reach. We await the desperate heroic.


@17 What do you think fuels the type of reaction you're describing? Don't bother trying to use the word "entitlement" because these types of people on the margins have literally little to none. It's kind of the definition.
The culture of reactionary and/or pissed off poor people in Seattle is a direct reaction to the climate they inhabit.
This article actually really wonderfully describes the point it seeks to prove (not something Charles does consistently, unfortunately). We as a community all interact with each other. Regardless of the systems that led to their current position, you must interact with poor people as much as they must interact with you. That's what a community is. What Charles was illustrating was a community where it's understood that all members of a given community are living under the same roof and thus the same general battle. How do we all coexist and live as best we can. This story exhibits a culture where compassion leads to more amicable social interactions for everybody because of compassion.

The fact is is that the current climate in Seattle culturally and legislatively is actively hostile to these highly marginalized people. Of course they would react in defense of their own well being (that's a natural reaction to oppression typically).

I'm not here to argue about the specifics of how these people ended up in the situation they're in (you mentioned mental illness as a possible factor, which is very true) and neither is this article. It and I are just trying to say that a little work to meet someone halfway or at least try and see their perspective goes a long way.

Seattle's current culture is not indicative of that compassion.


Over the last ten years I've spend roughly 200 hours and $10k helping the homeless. Less than some, but more than most, and probably more than most of the supporters of the current situation. Over that time, the only thing that has happened is things are a LOT WORSE. There are a lot of contributing factors here, but I've realized I share some of the blame. I've spent my spare resources helping the homeless meet three basic needs: food, shelter and safety. What that's done is enable my fellow humans to spend their own resources (time, money) to pursue chemical highs. We cannot continue to meet the basic needs for people who value that chemical high more than anything else. Our resources should instead be focused on compassionate but mandatory drug rehabilitation programs and providing employment.

Enabling people to "be free" isn't compassionate. Compassion is addressing the mental illness and chemical dependencies that have convinced them they want to live in a tent on the sidewalk, begging and stealing for the next fix. We need to stop enabling this behavior. This starts with removing them from the environment that supports them.


There are a lot of organizations in Seattle that help the homeless, but why are there so many homeless? Something isn’t adding up lol? Maybe they are dealing with the “homeless” aspect, and not the “human” aspect. People are homeless because they are hurt emotionally in a way they weren’t equipped to handle. Homeless people need therapists, life coaches, counselors, etc.... that’s what will stop this. However, in order for that to happen, we need compassionate people with the finances to help. There’s so much money in this city, but people are still struggling.


“Seattle culturally and legislatively is actively hostile to these highly marginalized people.”

Good lord you people are delusional.


That poster for Find It Fix It... does that app actually work for anything here? I posted something (not a tent, but an actual problem where plants had significantly overgrown a sidewalk) and it spent more than a year asking me if the problem had been resolved with no other updates.

Before Seattle, I spent six years in Boston. While that city is not, by any means, sunshine and roses, their was usually a response to Find It Fix It in a few days, and the city had an accessable "mayor's hotline" where non-police problems could be reported and at least small problems (I'm talking shifted sidewalks, not tents) usually got a fairly rapid response.

Certainly homelessness needs a better response in this city, but I also don't think that an anecdote about one place in a Detroit... suburb?... really is an illustration for how our whole city can or should move forward on homelessness. Being kind can only solve so much, and at least outside of government there is real kindness in Seattle (despite the very real "Seattle Chill"). That kindness does result in more reasonable interactions with the homeless, but it doesn't ultimately stop homelessness. The only thing that can even start to do that is a plan that gets over whether we are "kind" and moves on to how we can actually be empowering.



Compassion for the unhoused exists in Seattle, just not on Slog.


I just want to throw them out because it'll raise the value of my new home. Upset, Mudede?


I feel like there's too much conflation of poverty and criminality in discussions like this, to the marginalized's detriment. The vast majority of the poor live quietly and anonymously (just like everyone else). There's a small strain of people who are both poor, and very visibly anti-social, and this is the group that needs to be addressed. Extreme poverty (along with mental health and addiction issues) often explains the vectors into criminality, but it shouldn't be an excuse, IMHO. It's not a war against the poor, it's against a few bad people who may also be disadvantaged. I'm all for reality based compassion, where it's not at all compassionate to let people prey upon others or be the victims of such hostility. We should obviously strive to eliminate desperation by understanding its foundation, but when certain lines are crossed, in the immediate, those explanations are irrelevant and our methods for accountability should rev into full gear.


Islam is nice as a religion but keep it the hell away from political power..bad enough we have Christians trying to run things from a "Christian perspective" running a nation from an Islamic perspective is far worse.


We world class! We don't need no stinkin' campassion!


*compassion. Maybe "campassion" is a Freudian slip...


Let's suppose a tent was set up on the sidewalk in front of Charles' house.

The dude in it is a heroin addict who breaks into Charles' car, nicks Charles' bicycle, and steals packages from Charles' porch to get money to buy more drugs.

The tent begins to accumulate trash, stolen contraband, needles, and other filth. One week it's a patch of land about the size of a Volkswagen. The next week it's twice as large. And it keeps growing. The trash accumulates and accumulates. And when the dude living in it sees that he's being allowed to stay, several of his friends come and set up their tents alongside him, and now it's an encampment that will continue to expand.

So it seems based on this article that Charles' solution would be to go to the tent, bring his new neighbor a fresh-baked apple pie, and ask him very nicely to give back his bicycle and packages and the things he stole from Charles' car and to please clean up his trash. And that if we were all to follow Charles' example instead of situation to the city, we could all live in harmony.

Did I get anything wrong? Are there people besides Charles who unironically believe this?

This isn't a hypothetical. This is what happens in neighborhoods all around Seattle. It could happen to Charles just like it happens to any of us. You come home one day and there's a tent on your sidewalk that wasn't there before. You just get randomly fucked. Unless Matthew Lang decides to intentionally fuck you like he did to some people he didn't like in Green Lake:


What the hell are you talking about Charles? Do you know any homeless people? If you did they would tell you Seattle is a comparative paradise to do whatever your heart desires with little consequence. Try even laying on a park bench in Orlando and you'll understand.


It’s a tragedy that the addicts and mentally ill can’t be out somewhere for their own good; if they were properly segregated out we could see who was actually poor and in need


*put somewhere

Please wait...

and remember to be decent to everyone
all of the time.

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