Dearborn residents on terrorist watch list second only to New York, report says

Among the U.S. cities that have the most residents on the government’s terrorist watch list is one that stands out because of its comparatively small population: Dearborn.

Dearborn, a suburb of Detroit, was described by The Intercept, an online news site that reports on issues of national security, as having the second-highest concentration of people designated by the government as “known or suspected terrorists.”

The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, along with other civil rights organizations, will hold a press conference Aug. 8 at Dearborn City Hall to call for a congressional inquiry into how the government could label Dearborn as such.

The report said that Dearborn’s ranking, just behind New York City and ahead of Houston despite their significantly larger populations, has to do with its concentration of Arab and Muslim Americans.

“Given that there has not been a Dearborn resident who has ever committed an act of terrorism in the homeland, nor any significant pattern of residents being involved in international terrorism, we have serious concerns that federal law enforcement views Dearborn as a suspect community primarily based on its Arab and Muslim demographics,” said CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid in a news release.

Dearborn has the largest percentage of Arab Americans in the country, according to The Intercept report. “At 96,000 residents, Dearborn is much smaller than the other cities in the top five, suggesting that its significant Muslim population – 40 percent of its population is of Arab descent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau – has been disproportionately targeted for watchlisting,” the report said.

The top five U.S. cities on the watchlist for “known or suspected terrorists” are:

  • 1. New York
  • 2. Dearborn
  • 3. Houston
  • 4. San Diego
  • 5. Chicago

Mayor Jack O’Reilly and the city of Dearborn had no comment on Dearborn’s placement on the list.

Press & Guide, 7 August 2014

See also “CAIR-MI: Civil rights groups to call for inquiry into Feds labeling of Dearborn as suspected terrorist community”, CAIR Michigan press release, 7 August 2014

Update:  See “Officials dispute report of Dearborn being No. 2 terrorist city in America”, Press & Guide, 11 August 2014