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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lowe’s Faces Backlash Over Decision To Pull Ads From Muslim TV Show

Nawal Aoude, a pediatric respiratory therapist, left, and her husband Nader go for a walk in a scene from the TLC series, "All-American Muslim." (AP/Discovery)

There are more than 22,000 signatures on an online petition calling for advertisers not to follow Lowe’s Home Improvement in pulling ads from The Learning Channel show about Muslims called “All American Muslim.”

Lowe’s removed their ads after the conservative Christian Florida Family Association called for a boycott. The group’s president, David Katon, explained his call on NPR’s “Morning Edition”:

“Our concern with ‘All American Muslim’ is that it does not accurately represent the term Muslim, which is a follower of Islam and a follower of Islam believes in radicalization, the use of Sharia law, which provides for honor killings, mutilation of women and numerous other atrocities to women.”

Show fans say the series does represent real Muslim life in its depiction of five Arab-American families in Dearborn, Mich., including a newlywed couple, a police officer and a high school football coach.

Kari Ansari, a Muslim and a fan of the show, wrote on the Huffington Post that Lowe’s pulling its ads is a “new Lowe.”

“I’m very disappointed that a major American retailer would respond to a small group of people who are essentially saying that another group in our country shouldn’t be trusted,” she told Here & Now‘s Robin Young.

Lowe’s responded to the backlash on its Facebook page:

It appears that we managed to step into a hotly contested debate with strong views from virtually every angle and perspective – social, political and otherwise – and we’ve managed to make some people very unhappy. We are sincerely sorry. We have a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, across our workforce and our customers, and we’re proud of that longstanding commitment.

Ansari says that Lowe’s needs to acknowledge “that they fell for something that is a very bigoted and hateful request.”

Ansari says that she won’t be shopping at the store anymore and she thinks Lowe’s action will cause other Muslims to think hard about where they shop.

“Muslims in America are starting to realize that they need to mobilize in ways that will have an effect and that is voting with their dollars — to make it clear that we will buy with the fact in mind if a company respects our business or not,” she said.

Ansari also hopes the Lowe’s controversy pushes some people to watch the show and see what regular Muslims are like.

“People will go ‘Wait a minute, let me see what those people are about.’ And a lot of people are gonna go ‘Wow, I didn’t know that about them. That’s a lot like my family,’ ” she said.

Guest:

  • Kari Ansari, a Muslim who watches “All American Muslim”

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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