living under shawarma law

My call with the help desk was wrapping up. Noting a southern accent, I asked the young man what part of the country he lived in.

“Mississippi.” He asked where I lived.

“In Michigan. Just outside Detroit in a suburb called Dearborn.”

I could almost hear him gasp. “I hear y’all live under Sharia law there.”

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Photo by CQF-Avocat on

Dearborn, Michigan is thought of as the Muslim capital of the United States. I’m guessing around 45% of the population is Arab and most of that population are probably Muslim. Sharia law isn’t law as much as it is a way to help Muslims interpret and live the teachings of their holy books. It’s on par with Christians trying to live in accordance with Biblical teachings. That’s my take on it.

There’s so much to unpack here but I’ll save it for another time.

Fun fact: Like Judaism and Christianity, Islam (followed by Muslims) is an Abrahamic religion. And although Muhammed is the central prophet in Islam, Jesus (yes, the same Jesus from the Bible) is also a prophet in Islam.

Suffice it to say that one of the benefits of living in a community with so many Arabs is the food scene. We have restaurants serving Middle-Eastern food that’s so good it’ll make you weep. I’d be surprised if you could find better anywhere else in the country.

One of the gateway foods is shawarma: a seasoned, marinated chicken or beef. It can be served on rice but is most popular in a sandwich wrap. I’m not a meat eater but I hear it’s a safe, tasty bet if you don’t know what else to order.

In Dearborn, you can’t turn around without bumping into a place that sells shawarma. I’ve even seen it in gas stations. (I’m not kidding.) It’s EVERYWHERE.

“Don’t believe everything you hear on TV,” I cautioned the man working the help desk. “If there’s any law we follow around here, it’s shawarma law. I don’t eat it but I hear it’s absolutely delicious.”

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