While already known as the town’s first Muslim mayor, on Tuesday he became the town’s first elected Muslim mayor after beating Council Chair Denise Malinowski Maxwell. A Marine Corps veteran and immigrant from Lebanon, as the town’s mayor, he is not only the first Muslim but the first Arab American to serve.
According to the Detroit Free Press, about one-third of Dearborn Heights is Arab American, making Bazzi’s historic win an accurate representation of the community.
During his campaign, Bazzi frequently clashed with Malinowski-Maxwell—who once accused Bazzi of faking his 21 years of service with the Marines. But despite the hate he received and the conflicts with other politicians, Bazzi succeed in his reelection and made history once again.
When asked about his historic win, he acknowledged it but shared similar sentiments with other “firsts,” who noted it was not about them.
“It feels great,” he said. “But I don’t look at any of this as making history. I’m looking at it as I’m serving the people and serving Dearborn Heights. I’m here for the residents and I have an open-door policy always to residents, staff, everyone. My goal and mission is for the residents and for the city of Dearborn Heights.”
In a message to students who supposed him and even countered at the polls, Bazzi not only thanked them but noted he was proud.
“The sky’s the limit,” he said. “If you work hard and do the right thing and stay focused, you can achieve anything, you just need a dream and a passion. If I can do everything in my life that I’ve done, including this, then anyone can. I am grateful when I see youth involved in civic duties and serving the community, as it serves as an inspiration to even younger generations and comes full circle. I’m proud of them and there’s a good process of caring about each other and about our community. This really brings us all together and shows that we are and have one strong community.”