LANSING — State Representatives David Knezek (D-Dearborn Heights) George T. Darany (D-Dearborn), Rashida H. Tlaib (D-Detroit) and Vicki Barnett (D-Farmington Hills) have called on Gov. Rick Snyder to denounce former state representative and current Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema for his recent remarks targeting the Muslim community. Agema’s attack on the Muslim community breaks from his ongoing bashing of the LGBT community by insinuating that Muslim-Americans offer nothing to the United States.
“As a Christian, I am deeply offended by Mr. Agema’s remarks,” said Knezek. “My hometown of Dearborn Heights is home to a large Muslim population — including well-respected business owners, middle-class families and students. When I read statements such as his, I am both ashamed and embarrassed. For someone who claims to be a man of God, his intolerance and hate are far from the teachings of the church. For someone who claims to be a patriot, he appears to be dangerously unfamiliar with the meaning of freedom and the American dream.”
Mr. Agema has been a lightning rod for controversy as of late, openly attacking the LBGT community in public forums and on social media. His latest attack on Muslim-Americans included the statement, “Have you ever seen a Muslim do anything that contributes positively to the American way of life?”
“I have had the honor of representing Dearborn for more than three years now, and we have a strong Muslim community that has contributed greatly to the success and well-being of our hometown,” said Darany. “I have witnessed our Muslim friends and neighbors wrapping and delivering Christmas gifts with the Dearborn Goodfellows to ensure that no child goes without a Christmas. I have watched them work on Dearborn Rotary service projects to help those in need, and I have seen countless examples of their continued support for our schools through coaching or fundraising initiatives. The bottom line is that there is no merit to this type of rhetoric, and these attempts to use ignorance to divide our community should not be tolerated. I welcome anyone who takes such an interest in our community to come visit before they establish an opinion based on fear and misconceptions.”
“As the only Muslim in the Michigan Legislature, I am deeply offended by my former colleague’s bigoted comments,” said Tlaib. “He may have the freedom to say what he wants, but the Republican Party and Gov. Snyder have an obligation to the citizens of this state to renounce the hate expressed in his comments. Their continued silence only furthers discrimination against those of Muslim faith in Michigan. Muslims in Michigan have contributed a tremendous amount to education, health, public safety and so many issues that helps Michigan thrive.”
“It’s time Republican leaders in this state stand up and say that National Committeeman Agema’s statements have gone too far, are bigoted and do not reflect the values of their party,” said Barnett. “They’ve allowed this behavior to go on for far too long. Our citizens, regardless of race, religion and sexual orientation, make positive contributions in our communities every day. Gov. Snyder should denounce this hate speech immediately and call for his resignation. He should do it publicly, and he should do it today.”