Camp proposal denied amid Islamophobic terrorism fears in Michigan

A Michigan man’s proposal to build a youth camp in Michigan has been denied amid community fears that the camp will be turned into a training ground for ISIS.

The Ogemaw County Planning Commission voted down a request for special use permits David Salha needs to build the camp on his property in Lupton, Michigan.

Salha, an American citizen who emigrated to the U.S. from Lebanon when he was 8 and is married to a Christian woman, does not plan to scrap his plans for the camp.

The planning commission cited concerns that the camp “would not be harmonious with the secluded nature of the neighborhood,” according to an article in the Huffington Post, but the proposal drew a host of NIMBY (not in my backyard) neighbors making outrageous Islamophobic claims.

“As an American, I should not be refused for things that other camps (were) not refused for,” he was quoted saying in the article after the meeting.

The proposed camp, which David wants to name Camp Amen after his son, would be a place for his son’s Boy Scout troop and his youngest daughter’s Girl Scout troop to camp and also could be rented out to other groups. Salha’s proposal calls for about $500,000 worth of improvements to the property he purchased eight years ago, including eight semi-rustic cabins, a bathhouse, an outdoor dining pavilion and a kitchen.

Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at and I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.

1 Comment

  1. The messed up part is that the communities fears are not unfounded. A number of camps and retreats not directly controlled by easily identified mass organizations (BSA, GSA) have been identified as ideological training areas. Hamas has used summer camps for decades as centers to train children to be Jihadists, and more than a few camps in the States were shut down after they were identified as being run by a US Hamas affiliated organization. Even the US Army has come under fire for setting up summer camps for the families of soldiers on bases.

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