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When Money Talks, Inclusion Walks

December 14, 2011

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Lowe’s recent decision to pull their ads from The Learning Channel’s All American Muslim reality show has set off a firestorm of backlash and criticism—and not just from the Muslim community. State Senator Ted Lieu, D-Torrance from Southern California said he was considering calling for a boycott on Lowe’s. He has called the retail store’s decision “un-American” and “naked religious bigotry.” Sen. Lieu sent a letter outlining his complaints to Lowe’s Chief Executive Officer, Robert A. Niblock.

“The show is about what it’s like to be a Muslim in America, and it touches on the discrimination they sometimes face. And that kind of discrimination is exactly what’s happening here with Lowe’s,” Lieu said.

On Monday, Lowe’s defended its decision to pull advertising from the reality show amid charges the company had given in to bigotry. A conservative group known as the Florida Family Association complained and protested that the show was “propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda’s clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values.” According to the Associate Press, “the Florida Family Association sent three emails to its members, asking them to petition Lowe’s to pull its advertising. Its website was updated to say that ‘supporters’ emails to advertisers make a difference.”

In Wednesday’s Auburn Journal article, Shame on Lowe’s  State Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) is quoted lashing out at Lowe’s decision for choosing “to uphold the beliefs of a fringe hate group and not the creed of The First Amendment.” Rep. Ellison is one of two Muslim House representatives.

All American Muslim is a reality television show that follows and chronicles the lives of five Lebanese-American Shia Muslim families in and around the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, Michigan—which is home to one of the largest Muslim populations in the United States.

Lowe’s issued a statement in response to their decision: “Individuals and groups have strong political and societal views on this topic, and this program became a lightning rod for many of those views. As a result we did pull our advertising on this program. We believe it is best to respectfully defer to communities, individuals, and groups to discuss and consider such issues of importance.”

According to Sen. Lieu the apology isn’t enough and he has vowed to look into whether Lowe’s violated any California laws. Furthermore, Sen. Lieu was quoted in a recent Associate Press article saying, “We want to raise awareness so that consumers will know during this holiday shopping season that Lowe’s is engaging in religious discrimination.” Besides an apology and reinstatement of the ads, Lieu said he hoped Lowe’s would make an outreach to the community about bias and bigotry.

A moveon.org petition has been started stating: “The visible aim of those who have threatened the show’s supporters is to propagate hatred against fellow Americans because of their religious beliefs, while increasing the success of their own bigoted industries. Ultimately, it is these same critics who have often touted the question: “Where are the mainstream Muslims?” We believe that  “All-American Muslim” portrays just that—mainstream American Muslims—and that these critics should celebrate an effort like this, not condemn it. Yet their reactions leave no more proof necessary of their actual, hate-mongering intentions. And we believe that America and our American companies are above that.”

To read more on the backlash, click here>>

What’s your take on this? Leave a reply and let us know…

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