I have a Muslim uncle. He and my aunt raised their children in the Muslim faith and they would invite us over to share in their holidays, so while not a practicing Muslim, I respect and find much to appreciate about the Islamic faith. I couldn't be more impressed by the sincerity of their faith or the amazing strength that they--and my cousins, impressive in their own right--have exhibited in the face of ridiculous Islamophobia since 9/11. And it grinds me to the point of lashing out when I hear people spout off ignorance about Muslims. One billion people globally cannot be judged by a small handful of extremists any more than Christians should be judged by Fred Phelps or Mormons by Warren Jeffs.
I admit that I've never seen TLC's "All American Muslim." Unless it's a cooking competition, I tend to shy away from "reality" shows. But based on the trailer above, it looks like an excellent way to bust through some stereotypes and look at people who may share similar likes, values, fears, goals and lifestyles, if not a place of worship. And that's something that we should never be fearful of.
So it's disappointing in the extreme for me to hear that Lowe's Hardware has succumbed to the ignorance of those who pretend to be followers of a rabbi who preached tolerance, acceptance and the need to care for one another:
Here’s another reason to shop at Home Depot: Big-box hardware store Lowe’s decided to pull its advertising from TLC’s All-American Muslim because of unspecified complaints about its content. The series profiles several Michigan families who happen to be Muslim but are [not] otherwise very different—and it’s one of TLC’s better series.
The conservative/crazy Florida Family Association (“THOUSANDS OF SUPPORTERS across America who share in the same goal of improving America’s moral environment”) asked its supporters to contact advertisers to complain about the show, arguing in an insane post that the reality series
“is propaganda clearly designed to counter legitimate and present-day concerns about many Muslims who are advancing Islamic fundamentalism and Sharia law. The show profiles only Muslims that appear to be ordinary folks while excluding many Islamic believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish.”
So in other words, it doesn’t meet the stereotypes that their tiny brains have concocted, so the show must be evil. Just looking at the organization’s web site makes it clear that it’s the kind of group that should be actively ignored, but their followers’ messages apparently had some impact, as the organization posted an e.mail message from Lowe’s that said, in part, “there are certain programs that do not meet Lowe’s advertising guidelines, including the show you brought to our attention. Lowe’s will no longer be advertising on that program.” On Twitter, Lowe’s said they “did not pull our ads based solely on the complaints or emails of any one group. It is never our intent to alienate anyone,” and followed up with a tweet that insisted, “Lowe’s values diversity of thought in everyone, including our employees and prospective customers.”
It's getting to the point where it's difficult (there are no mom-and-pop hardware stores in my area) to find a place for home repairs. Sigh.
UPDATE: Lowe's apologizes...sort of
The hardware giant updated their stance on pulling its ads from the reality show, which has caused a furor of outrage.
“As you know, the TLC program All-American Muslim has become a lightning rod for people to voice complaints from a variety of perspectives – political, social and otherwise,” the company said. “Following this development, dozens of companies removed their advertising from the program beginning in late November. Lowe’s made the decision to discontinue our advertising on Dec. 5. As we shared yesterday, we have a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, and we’re proud of that longstanding commitment. If we have made anyone question that commitment, we apologize.”
Yeah, I'm not buying it either. Former WH staffer and actor Kal Penn tweeted this in response:
Our next movie: "Harold & Kumar Do Not Go To @Lowes". Please take a sec to sign & support an all-American show. http://tiny.cc/eqbfw RT