All American Muslim Loses A Bunch Of Tools

By Arturo R. García

Nobody’s saying All-American Muslim is perfect, but when was the last time a reality show was attacked for being … you know, realistic?

Yet that seems to be at the heart of the complaint filed by the Florida Family Association, which has resulted in a number of companies, most notably the Lowe’s hardware chain, pulling advertising from the program. On its website, the FFA says:

The first two episodes start off with Muslim youth complaining about non-Muslim Americans’ perception of them as extremists after 911. The show then reports on these youths’ daily, weekly and monthly prayer rituals. Many Imams who are at the head of these prayer rituals believe strongly in Islam and Sharia law. This TLC show clearly failed to connect the dots on this point but then again that appears to be their intent.

Many situations were profiled in the show from a Muslim tolerant perspective while avoiding the perspective that would have created Muslim conflict thereby contradicting The Learning Channel’s agenda to inaccurately portray Muslims in America.

The fear-mongering only goes on from there.

A company spokeswoman, Katie Cody, told The Washington Post it was Lowe’s understanding that All-American “raised concerns, complaints, or issues from multiple sides of the viewer spectrum,” without specifying any of those other viewpoints. Cody added, of course, that it wasn’t the company’s “intent to alienate anyone.”

Well, too late for that.

The FFA is also claiming responsibility for a whole host of companies pulling their ads from the show though at least three denied that allegation to The Post. (A list of sponsors no longer advertising on Muslim can be found here.)

Not only has the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee called Lowe’s out for caving in, but the incident has started to get attention outside television circles: Global Grind is organizing a petition in support of the show, while mogul/activist Russell Simmons took to both the press and Twitter to blast the company:

And the office of California Senator Ted Lieu (D-CA) posted a letter from him to Lowe’s CEO Robert Niblock calling on the company to apologize for its decision:

Lowe’s action is profoundly ignorant. Islam is a peaceful religion practiced by over 1.5 billion people, including Americans across our great nation and Lowe’s own employees. As President Bush declared, and President Obama reaffirmed, America is not at war with Islam.

America is, however, at war with people who pose a clear and present danger, whether they are white separatists like Timothy McVeigh (who happened to be Catholic); mass shooters such as Seung-Hui Cho at Virginia Tech ; or members of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Army (a Marxist-Leninist group that has targeted US interests with suicide bombings). Lowe’s bigoted action conflates peaceful religions with dangerous people who use peaceful religions (or political ideology) to advance their agenda.

Lowe’s religious discrimination is the equivalent of a company asserting that it is pulling advertising from the Christian Broadcast Network’s 700 Club because the program somehow “riskily hides” the agenda of Christian radicalized groups such as Aryan Nation. That assertion would, of course, be utter nonsense and religious bigotry.

Like many bullies, the FFA doesn’t work alone; it’s an ally of the American Family Association, which was tagged as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center last year. And AFA spokesman lives up to that label at seemingly every turn, whether it be by sounding off on “Muslim turkeys;” arguing that the First Amendment shouldn’t apply to Mormons; or saying Jesus Christ Himself would flog the Occupy Wall Street movement; or offering Muslims a choice: convert to Christianity or die:

So we say to them, look, if you don’t want our missionaries, fine, that’s your choice, we’ll take our missionaries and our Marines, we’ll take them home, but we’re going to let you know we have no hesitation about returning with lethal force if the forces in your country threaten us again. This time it’s Marines and missionaries, next time it’ll be Marines and missiles.

To its credit, a spokesman for The Learning Channel, which airs Muslim, told Entertainment Weekly, “We stand behind the show All American Muslim and we’re happy the show has strong advertising support.”

But you might be wondering, why would Lowe’s kowtow to the views of a discriminating bunch of wingnuts? It might be as simple as sharing political bedfellows: the company makes no bones about being an active contributor … to the Republican party, which actively courts groups like the AFA. “Multiple sides of the viewer spectrum”? Seems more and more like they’re only coming from the right side of the aisle.

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  • Anonymous

    Interesting how just last week I commented on the posting for this program that it was not as relevant today as it would have been earlier in the post-9/11 era and that it would have garnered greater interest then. Guess I may have been wrong.

    Hopefully, like many shows with controversy surrounding them (whether legitimate or not) the ratings will increase and all of the companies who pulled their advertising will eat crow.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting how just last week I commented on the posting for this program that it was not as relevant today as it would have been earlier in the post-9/11 era and that it would have garnered greater interest then. Guess I may have been wrong.

    Hopefully, like many shows with controversy surrounding them (whether legitimate or not) the ratings will increase and all of the companies who pulled their advertising will eat crow.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting how just last week I commented on the posting for this program that it was not as relevant today as it would have been earlier in the post-9/11 era and that it would have garnered greater interest then. Guess I may have been wrong.

    Hopefully, like many shows with controversy surrounding them (whether legitimate or not) the ratings will increase and all of the companies who pulled their advertising will eat crow.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, and now Kayak.com has pulled their ads and the statement issued by the CEO was pretty obnoxious, claiming that TLC was not “up front” with them about the nature of the show.

    B/c you know, how duplicitous to show American Muslims who are just ordinary people.  That was quite the con job.

    He also said that the show “sucked” but funny that shows sucking doesn’t keep them or anyone else form advertising during any of the other 10,000 reality shows that litter TV today.  

  • Madhabmatics

    The comments on the Lowe’s facebook page are absolutely horrendous. I know they are actively banning people who are critical of Lowe’s from their facebook page – I wonder whether they are doing the same to the people posting bigoted comments.

  • Madhabmatics

    The comments on the Lowe’s facebook page are absolutely horrendous. I know they are actively banning people who are critical of Lowe’s from their facebook page – I wonder whether they are doing the same to the people posting bigoted comments.

  • Madhabmatics

    The comments on the Lowe’s facebook page are absolutely horrendous. I know they are actively banning people who are critical of Lowe’s from their facebook page – I wonder whether they are doing the same to the people posting bigoted comments.

  • Renee Campbell

    this is crazy imo. Islam, the word itself, MEANS PEACE.

    demonizing other religions due to your ignorance and bad experience with one extremist… if that was the case, no one would ever be Christian. salem with trials, crusades, spanish inquisition were all done under the name of God.

  • harlemjd

    “Many Imams who are at the head of these prayer rituals believe strongly in Islam…”

    Well, yeah, that’s the point.

  • http://twitter.com/danthrasher Daniel Thrasher

    As to some of the companies disputing this claim: Home Depot responded to FFA by saying that “no ads were scheduled to run” which they took to mean that their campaign worked and the ads were pulled.  It’s just as likely that Home Depot was never a sponsor of the show. 

  • Pschwotzer

    I thought I must have been too interested in the content to watch the spelling/grammar, so I went back to see what I had missed. ‘Its’ is the possessive, and ‘it’s’ is the contraction for ‘it is’, often confused. Your usage looks exactly correct to me. 

    • Anonymous

      I went back and fixed it. I had noticed a couple being off, before the reader above had pointed them out.

      • Pschwotzer

        You did good.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, so their argument here is that the show could actually make people feel comfortable around Muslims and not view them all as a monolithic group of blood-thirsty terrorists who deserve to have their civil rights regularly violated by law enforcement, the U.S. government, and TSA and airline employees?  God forbid your kids grow up to realize that they shouldn’t fear a group of people b/c of the faith that they practice…

    I’d love for someone to explain to me why we should judge all Muslims based on the actions of a few when we don’t do the same thing to Christians and Jews.  

    Oops, too late, I lived in SE Michigan for 10 years and as a black person, am all too familiar with the experience of being judged to be all of the worst things in society.  

    I haven’t seen the show but like the clips just b/c it reminds me of the people I saw everyday living in the greater Detroit area…girls in hijabs at the mall enjoying their friends, women wearing gorgeous clothes that I envied and fab makeup who just happen to keep their hair covered in public…oh my gosh, Muslims are real people too (and they come in all races and colors just like the rest of us)!!

  • Anonymous

    If you’d like to volunteer/hire us a copy editor, we will take it.

    • Anonymous

      This one I wrote too quickly, so let me apologize to Arturo.

      The above is my usual semi-snarky response to grammar policing – I generally don’t mind people commenting with the piece, but obsessive grammar correction to folks who know what they are doing and were probably just too time strapped to run another check grates a bit. So my usual offer is that folks volunteer their time for free to preview all of our posts – easily a 10 or so hour per week commitment, which most folks don’t want to read.

      However, upon second read, this could be taken a few different ways. I don’t want to throw Art under the bus here – this is not the first time (nor will it be the last) that a post goes up with a few errors. So when that happens, we hope that folks will (1) excuse our dust, knowing that even places that have full time staff still run errors and typos including the NYT, and (2) send us a quite nudge via email to rectify the errors. Chances are, we’ll catch them again when we get around to the rereads.

  • http://www.examiner.com/family-in-new-york/rahela-choudhury RCHOUDH

    Thanks for the list now I’ll know who else to boycott and I’m glad I never shopped at Lowes!