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Dearborn Yemeni community rallies around protester, Nobel winner

A Dearborn soccer field was the site of a traditional Muslim prayer service Friday.

But it was more than that—an effort to show visible solidarity with protesters in Yemen, who have spent nine months in mass demonstrations against the 34-year regime of President President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Like the recent pro-democracy movements in other Arab countries, the protests in Yemen have been fueled by youth frustrations.

Dearborn protester Nasar Jabr says the goal is nothing less than revolution. “Now everybody wants to make a change,” he says. "The youth is all about the new Yemen, from now on.”

Dearborn is home to one of the nation’s largest Yemeni communities.

The event also coincided with the announcement that a Yemeni woman,Tawakul Karman, had won the Nobel Peace Prize for leading some of those protests.

Yasmine Hassan is with the Popular Support Committee for the Youth revolution in Yemen.

 “We’re all very proud of her," Hassan says. "It’s amazing. Not only is she the first Arab woman, she is a Yemeni woman. That speaks volumes, to us and to our country. So it’s something we’re very proud of.”

Hassan says Yemeni-Americans in Dearborn retain strong ties to their home country, and are following events there very closely.


Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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