Muslim dogma, marijuana profits, lawyers and politics have collided to create a municipal mess in the Detroit suburb of Hamtramck.
Early last month, Hamtramck’s first retail marijuana shop, Pleasantrees, to the surprise of nearly all, popped up in a former Polish veteran’s club within an earshot of the Abu-Bakr Al-Siddique Islamic Center’s frequent call to prayer.
As many Americans’ views of marijuana shift and it becomes more socially acceptable, some Michigan Muslim communities remain staunchly against it, as illustrated by the conflict in which Hamtramck is currently embroiled.
Marijuana, along with alcohol, opiates and all other mind-altering substances, are strictly “prohibited” by the religion’s holy book, the Quran, local Muslim believers and leaders say.
Hamtramck Mayor Pro Tem Fadel Al-Marsoumi, who is Muslim, said the religious doctrine forbids “anything that you will take that alters your state of mind.”
“In Islam, you don’t own your body; you only own your soul,” he said. “The body is a vessel that’s provided by God.”
In nearby Dearborn, another city with a sizable Muslim population, elected officials quickly voted to ban recreational marijuana businesses within weeks of the first state-sanctioned retail stores opening Dec. 1, 2019.
That’s not to say that the Muslim faith is alone in its disdain for the plant’s psychotropic effects or perceptions that marijuana proliferation will spur lawlessness and underage drug abuse. The majority of Michigan cities, townships and villages, more than 1,300 of the 1,700-plus, have already banned recreational marijuana businesses.
“It’s a matter of principle and it’s a matter of religious belief, especially within the Muslim faith, that this is not going to fly,” said Imad Hamad, director of the American Human Rights Council, a Dearborn-based civil rights nonprofit focused on Arab and Muslim-American issues. “It’s a basic religious belief that should be respected.
“I think the