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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”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • ak

    Canadian TV has had a sit-com for years called Little Mosque on the Prairie.  Small town life and unusual characters.  Why not here?

    • Geheran05

      Because we realize that while most Muslims are solid citizens, this series is more about whitewashing the fundamental issues in the Islamic community.

      • Anonymous

        Like Timothy McVeigh represents evangelicals (or maybe he really does? — You) Take your ignorance with some new humility to a mosque and ask humbly how you can learn how to broaden your outlook on the diversity of life.

  • John22

    I believe it is time that all American Muslims voice their concern regarding this issue. The actual radicalization is what Christian Florida Family Association did. They are the one brainwashing people and giving incorrect, fabricated and false information about Muslims and Islam.

    Give me a break. Who are you Mr. David Katon to define Sharia Law for me? Don’t impose your definition of the term. Your definition does not fit in what Sharia Law is all about. If you are really interested in knowing what Sharia Law is, then go and sit with a Muslim scholar to educate you.

  • http://www.calljaneinmaine.com Jane Sargent-Hamilton

    Disgusting show of hate.  I will never walk into another Lowes again.  Let them sell to the haters. 

  • Dubsj123

    The merits of this series aside, advertisers are free to advertise or not. If this were a Christian or Jewish series, there would not be so much as a peep from the media. So much for the “bigotry” assertion.

  • Guest

    It’s logistics, too. When one lives more than 1 hour from any stores, then Lowe’s must do for any building supplies. Another selection would add another hour, one-way.
    We must live by the “live and let live” motto for it’s logistics.

    • Anonymous

      But you can make it known to the store that you resent their action.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=14000644 Mike Pascucci

    The petition mentioned at the top of the article can be found here: http://www.signon.org/sign/defend-our-american-values

    However, that petition is not actually aimed at Lowe’s. Please also sign my petition on Change.org directed at Lowe’s CEO Robert Niblock, and others within the Lowe’s corporate structure: http://www.change.org/petitions/lowes-reinstate-commercials-on-all-american-muslim

  • Elizabeth in RI

    Several comments below point out just how far we still have to go to actually follow the ideal of the US Constitution – that we should all be able to follow any or no religion – and not have other’s force faith or culture upon us. Christian radicals have been doing just that for so long now that we fail to understand it for what it is. No one cries foul or challenges Christianity and its adherents when Timothy McVeigh and other terrorists act, but somehow it seems okay to many Americans to paint all Muslims with the actions of a few.  Of course Lowe’s has the right to advertise where it wants to – that’s not the point. The fact that Lowe’s caved to the Christian radicals view indicates that it is either fearful of that organization and its view or shares their ideas. And we as consumers we have the right to not shop with companies with those ideas – and so I won’t.

    • Anonymous

      While Lowe’s and all who really understand the Constitution justifiably should agree with every point in your post and should stand up and shout down those like  the CFFA as not reflecting American values, it is astounding the number of Americans who don’t understand what the Constitution is all about. But what is even more incredibly difficult to comprehend is the willingness of the Republican Party to pander to that “Neanderthal” mindset. And my use of the “Neanderthal” term may well be an insult to the Neanderthals.

      Sociologists and psychologists tell us that economic hard times bring this out in many people, which may be the cause of the large number of people willing to accept such distortions, but for someone who wishes to be a leader of the country to encourage this viral strain to run amuck to untold damage, not only in this country but the whole world, just reeks of the days of the fall of the Roman Empire or other great civilizations. But then the Republican contest for the presidential nomination seems more than just embarrassing, more like a contest between Nero and Caligula to see who can institute policies that will damage the whole culture of this country. See today’s OnPoint program on the fight for survival of the American Middle Class, and how important that is.

  • Anonymous

    The Learning Channel began with almost all programs being truly informative, most about science or its impacts on the world. But either the programs were not entertaining enough or the American public is not interested, I do not know. The end result is that most TLC programs are pure drivel, great representatives of what Newton Minnow called the TV Wasteland.

    It is most distressing that an attempt by TLC to provide a smidgen of its original mission is attacked in this horrible way.

    Maybe if the people of Florida made clear to the companies where the members of this church work that they were not appreciated, this kind of thing might stop.

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