The wrongful arrest of a prominent Dearborn community member has left community leaders and residents wondering how such a mistake was made.
On Saturday morning, the Detroit Free Press reported that Ali Hammoud, president of the , was arrested Friday night at his Dearborn home on allegations that he had smuggled and sold cigarettes in support of Hezbollah.
However, Hammoud was released Saturday after the FBI discovered that they had mistaken him for someone else with a similar name and description.
FBI Detroit spokeswoman Sandra Berchtold told the Free Press that, "The individual fit the description/identifiers of an active warrant. It was later determined it was not the correct individual, and he was released."
Though Hammoud has been exonerated of the crime, community members are expressing anger over how this case of mistaken identity could have happened.
"This is uncalled for," Maher Dabaja wrote on the Dearborn Area Community Members Facebook page. "We should not be quiet. This government is making the wrong calls.
Dearborn Patch reader Yasmine Sion Ferris added on the Patch Facebook page: "Unfortunately, it seems like every time someone in our community does well, and who happens to be Arab/Arab-American, there's always something/someone tries to make them look bad. ... A case of mistaken identity is one thing, but this has become too commonplace and needs to stop!"
Osama Siblani, publisher of the Arab American News, told the Free Press that the community "will not rest until we find out what happened, and we want to make sure it will never happen again."
The Bint Jebail Center has been the site for many community and political gatherings, including an election night gathering last Tuesday for the Arab American Political Action Committee.