AC360° Digital Producer
Editor’s Note: Watch Anderson's interview with Dearborn Mayor John O'Reilly.
(CNN) – Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle will soon receive a personal invitation to visit Dearborn, Michigan – and a bit of the history lesson in the process.
Last week at a rally of Tea Party movement supporters, Angle said Dearborn and Frankford, Texas are subject to Sharia, or Islamic law.
“We're talking about a militant terrorist situation, which I believe isn't a widespread thing, but it is enough that we need to address, and we have been addressing it,” Angle said according to audio of the rally obtained by the Washington Post. “My thoughts are these. First of all, Dearborn, Michigan, and Frankford, Texas, are on American soil, and under constitutional law. Not Sharia law. And I don't know how that happened in the United States.”
In a letter sent to Angle Monday, Dearborn Mayor John O’Reilly, Jr. fired back at the Nevada Republican.
“I am deeply distressed that you have been misled about our community and the way that we conduct our affairs,” O’Reilly writes.
After explaining that the Detroit metro area, which includes Dearborn, has one of the country’s highest concentrations of Arab-Americans in the country, O’Reilly also informs Angle that “Arab-Americans practice religions other than Islam and the Chaldean and Lebanese cultures in our area represent a substantial number of Christians.”
“I am afraid that many share the perception that Muslims have only recently immigrated to this area and are imposing their culture on our region,” O’Reilly also writes, directly addressing Angle’s claims about the role of Muslims in his community.
The Michigan mayor adds, “Muslims have been practicing their faith in our community for almost 90 years without incident or conflict. To suggest that they have taken over ignores the fact that Dearborn hosts 7 mosques and 60 Christian churches.”
O’Reilly also asks Angle to visit his city.
“I invite you to visit Dearborn and see for yourself what is really going on in our community,” he tells her.
And if Angle doesn’t have time to come to Dearborn? O’Reilly also has a Plan B in mind: “I would welcome a phone call so I could tell you more about our community, which is really a world class hometown.”
–CNN’s Jeff Simon contributed to this report.
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