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Toys to trees, no restrictions on Christmas sales in Dearborn, Michigan

December 19, 2018 GMT

CLAIM: A Facebook post states that Christmas merchandise sales are no longer permitted in Dearborn, Michigan, featuring a photo of a billboard that says “NO CHRISTMAS TREES DEARBORN CANCELLED ALL XMAS PERMITS.”

 

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The city has not banned the selling of Christmas merchandise.

 

THE FACTS: With Christmas just around the corner, social media users are sharing false claims about holiday preparations in Dearborn, Michigan, a Detroit suburb that is home to the largest mosque in North America and one of the largest Arab-American populations in the U.S.

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Mary Laundroche, Dearborn’s director of public information, confirmed that the city has no restrictions on the sale of Christmas items in the city. And the city is decorated for the holidays with wreaths hanging from lamp posts. There was even a Christmas decorating contest.

 

“Generally we have ridiculous comments made about our city in a variety of outlets,” Laundroche said.

 

Officials said the false claims typically target its Muslim population. For example, the item about Christmas merchandise sales included a comment by a Facebook user who said, “Dearborn has been taken over by muslims.”

 

Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told The Associated Press that the false claims surfacing around Christmas are part of an effort to spread fear around Muslims.

 

“I was chuckling about the number of Christmas trees and Christmas music that are seen and heard in Muslim-owned establishments all throughout Dearborn,” he said.

 

Jackie Lovejoy, president of the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce, told The Associated Press she is accustomed to seeing false claims about the city around the holidays, but Christmas cheer remains undiminished.

 

“We are dressed for the holidays,” she said.

 

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

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