The news that Lowe’s pulled its advertising during TLC’s reality show “All American Muslim” and is not backing down from the decision after the Florida Family Association pressured the home improvement company, deserves a big, hearty “WTF.”
Who’s crazier in this case? Is it the Florida Family Association, a small conservative fringe group who claims that “All American Muslim” is “propaganda clearly designed to counter legitimate and present-day concerns about many Muslims who are advancing Islamic fundamentalism”?
Or is it Lowe’s, which has more than 1,725 stores in the U.S. and Canada (and Mexico), and stated that since the TV show has become a lightning rod for many supporting and opposing views, the company decided it was best not to advertise.
According to the Florida Family Association and other groups like them (think ACT! for America) I am supposed to believe that the Lebanese/Arab-American Muslim families in Dearborn, MI – who are so normal they’re almost boring to watch – are propaganda and distractions from the real threat of fundamentalist Muslims coming to the U.S. and implementing Shari’a and jihad.
Say, what?! Over the summer, I had the extremely unpleasant experience of talking to a woman who was a member of the Northern Virginia chapter of ACT! for America. She was absolutely convinced that Muslims in the U.S. were here to institue Shari’a, veil women, and run terrorist camps in the countryside while being disguised as your friendly next-door neighbor. When I asked her if she had ever been to a mosque or knew any Muslim, of course she said no.
Lowe’s gave in to fear-mongering, Islamophobia and racism orchestrated by a small, vocal minority. Thankfully, the majority has spoken and ad time for the show has sold out.
The controversy over “All American Muslim” and blatant Islamophobia coming from the Florida Family Association and Lowe’s is deeply disturbing to me. After the 10th anniversary of 9/11, I had the unique privilege of traveling to Dearborn and meeting many leaders in the Muslim community at the Islamic Center of America, breaking bread with them and staying for Thursday night prayers.
I was a part of Clergy Beyond Borders‘ Caravan of Reconciliation – a group of American imams, rabbis, ministers and priests – promoting interfaith dialogue and the need for Americans to work across religious boundaries for the good of our country. I remember Dearborn fondly not only because the mosque was absolutely gorgeous, but because the hospitality, friendliness and warmth from the diverse Muslim men and women I met was amazing. They looked and sounded a lot like the families on “All American Muslim.”
I came across this video clip from “All American Muslim” this morning and it sums up perfectly the reality and the challenges that we as a country still face when it comes to accepting American Muslims, ten years after 9/11.
(Don’t you just love it when Suehaila says to a woman who makes rude remarks about her head covering before a flight, “You get your ass off the plane because I have a meeting I have to get to to educate people like you.”)