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In outrage over Lowe's controversy, moderation is drowned out
December 13th, 2011
09:02 PM ET

In outrage over Lowe's controversy, moderation is drowned out

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Lowe's knows that it opened Pandora's box when the company "managed to step into a hotly contested debate" by pulling its advertising from the reality TV show "All-American Muslim."

"Lowe's has received a significant amount of communication on this program, from every perspective possible," it said in a statement. "Individuals and groups have strong political and societal views on this topic, and this program became a lightning rod for many of those views."

But "communication to the company" was far from the start of it. Almost anyone with an opinion, from bloggers to commentators and Twitters users, aired diverging views. And though the viewpoints getting the most coverage were from those with the biggest platforms, there is growing sentiment online that what Lowe's did was wrong but allowable.

The religion blog The Crescat exemplifies this point of view:

Company's have the right to decide how and where they wish to spend their money for advertising. If the intentions of Lowe's are bigoted and racist, so what? Then boycott Lowe's and shop at Home Depot instead or, even better, your local hardware store.

Lowe's pulled the advertising after groups including the Florida Family Association complained to the company. In its letter, the family group wrote that the show was not portraying Muslim Americans realistically. The letter also stated:

Clearly this program is attempting to manipulate Americans into ignoring the threat of jihad and to influence them to believe that being concerned about the jihad threat would somehow victimize these nice people in this show.

What the family group wrote is not politically correct, one commenter at Yahoo wrote. But Lowe's is:

Free to spend their advertising money wherever they wish. The problem is it's not PC to do what they did and now are suffering backlash.

Arsalan Iftikhar, in a contribution to this blog, argues that this situation is more than just being politically correct; it is about bigotry. Would a major American company remove its commercials, he asks, from a show highlighting the lives of Latinos, African-Americans, Jewish Americans or members of the LGBT community?

Iftikhar, who has also used Twitter to espouse his beliefs on this situation, wrote:

If you think this kind of bigotry could not happen in modern-day America, you would be absolutely wrong.

In an interview with CNN's John King, David Caton, executive director of the Florida Family Association, commended the Lowe's decision, stating that the show was not fully defining the term "Muslim." Canton told King:

This show is totally absent the true essence of Islam, which is the focus of a Muslim believer. ... We believe this show is propaganda, and we have called on advertisers across the country to pull.

And even though TLC is not releasing the names of other advertisers that have pulled away from the show, according to Caton, Lowe's is not the only company to heed his organization's call.

And so the controversy continued online. Just hours after the news broke, a petition asked certain company leaders to repudiate calls to stop the advertising.

The petition was directed at companies from Clinique to Sonic, from Home Depot to Step & Shop. Organizers even planned to send the petition to Time Warner, the parent company of CNN.

The main argument as to why Lowe's decision is bigger than just Muslims is that it is a slippery slope toward more targeted, bigoted advertisement.

"No Christian Jewish Buddhist or Hindu should sit by and watch this w/out reacting," hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons tweeted.

That opinion was far from universally supported, though; it was just as easy to find someone commending Lowe's as it was to find someone criticizing the hardware giant.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Entertainment • Islam

soundoff (270 Responses)
  1. Mr. Logical

    I have nothing against Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus, or any other religious groups.

    However, I have read studied world religions, and I cannot ignore the Quran's 164 jihad verses. Many of these verses make it crystal clear that followers of Islam are expected to torture and kill anyone who does not share their beliefs.

    Source: http://answering-islam.org/Quran/Themes/jihad_passages.html

    December 24, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  2. FLADABOSCO

    The real difference between Muslims and Christians is that Christians kill with bomb dropped from planes. All other differences are cosmetic.

    December 24, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
  3. Blessed Geek

    Evangelical Christians, both Catholic and Protestant ones, do not wish to see or encourage moderation of Islam.

    As Islam's current image as it stands, is good business for Evangelical Christianity. The rise of the expressionism of moderate Islam is bad news for Evangelical Christianity. Evangelical Christianity (both Catholic and Protestant ones) has been responsible for the rise in the number of Christians in Africa and Asia. Let's say that you might be surprised to hear South Korea, for example, is an overwhelmingly Christian country. You might even be surprised to know that the fathers of the Chinese Revolution were Evangelical Christians.

    What is their game play? What is the basis of their strategy. Their political strategy was first proposed by well-known South Korean Evangelist (well-known to Evangelicals) (Dr) Paul/David Yonggi Cho. His thesis to his compatriots was fashioned after Marx's call to battle – to use every non-violent weapon available to take over the political systems of the world to ensure the smooth passage of the Christian gospel and the ready harvest of souls.

    There is no reasoning of logic that would be persuasive against these people, because their logical reasoning and legality is derived from their motivation.

    What they do not realise is, that their movement has become the Beast and the 666 against which they have been preaching. Their movement has been infiltrated by money-loving falsely-religious incompassionate tax-evading opportunistic people who profess the evangelical motivation. Their movement is, in fact, the 666. Their movement denies the effects of excessive human economic activities has terrible effects on the ecology and climate of the planet. Their movement, hence, justifies the deaths of millions of children and unborn babies due to climate change.

    They have forgotten that their founder (allegedly) once said, in paraphrase, "You cannot be a servant of two masters – choose either your Creator or your love for Money". So Christians, i.e. those who profess strong fundamental faith to Christianity – you are in the Valley of Decision – choose. CHOOSE!

    December 23, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
  4. Cooliosis Unrooliosis

    Once any of you lives in a country/region with a majority Muslim population, you'll see how silly this show is. What's next, a show about illegal alien families that love American history? Nice try TLC but Americans will eventually come to understand the reality that moderate Muslims still do less about their extremist brethren than the rest of society needs them to. Perhaps TLC can have a show which interviews (with changed names, blacked out faces, morphed voices) Muslims that "ratted out" their lousy jihadist vermin friends and relatives. Now that would be make Americans feel much better about some Muslims. Oh that's right, they couldn't find enough Muslims that were that patriotic, I forgot.

    December 22, 2011 at 7:46 am |
    • kolohepalu

      America, with its Tea Baggers, Jehovah's Witnesses, militias, and KKK (just to name a few) has no room to be self-righteous about "extremism". The people with a problem with this program are just prejudiced and trying to put a self-righteous religious sheen on it. Nauseating- and not representative of the views of educated, thinking Americans.

      December 22, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
    • FLADABOSCO

      The sad truth is that most Muslims in the US look like everyone else. They wear western clothes, have normal jobs, go to public schools and from my experience are pretty nice normal people. They want a good life for themselves, their kids, and from what I can tell, their neighbors. The sadder truth is that many ringers want to focus on the extremists. It's like saying that all Christians are like the CIA, going into foreign countries and killing people. Just not true.

      December 24, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
  5. concerned citizen

    The Florida Family Association is not only airing its bigotry and prejudice (pre-judging one without adequate or demonstrative proof), but for a group who claims to be Christian it fails to honor one of Jesus' fundamental principles – love thy neighbour.

    It appears that Lowe's will grovel for the dollar
    however small it be.

    December 20, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  6. AmericanMuslimGirl

    So here's the thing-

    We live in the land of the FREE- Freedom of speech, religion, etc... Here in America, our brothers, sisters, fathers, grandfathers, friends have all fought to make our country FREE. There are two sides of this- 1) Our "forefathers" should be ashamed of our modern day bigotry, attempts to exile non-Christians and make hateful, obviously uneducated assumptions about an entire human population...in this case, the entire American-Muslim community. That is NOT free. That in itself is "Anti-American" behavior.

    2) If Lowe's wants to pull their advertising, fine, they should. Who wants a company's support if its fake? I don't want to give my money to hateful companies, so thank you for blowing the whistle on this. I will no longer be supporting Lowe's on my dollar. HOWEVER, this is clearly backwards movement and should be noted. For a country so concerned on peace and holding tight to American rights, I firmly believe this is not the way to unify any group of populations.

    3) To any religious people out there who don't know the first thing about Islam- TRUE Islam (words from the Qur'an) teach Muslims to RESPECT and gain understanding of Jews and Christians. Islam recognizes the existence of all the same prophets- Abraham, Ishmael, Moses, Jesus. In fact, the Qur'an is the continuation of those religions. Even the Virgin Mary and Gabriel are IN THE QUR'AN. So maybe, just maybe, you should dig your head out of the sand and open a book that wasn't written by a religious extremist. Who in-fact exist in EVERY SINGLE RELIGION. Do you really think that the only people who misinterpret religion are Muslims? Do some research and its not too hard to find mislead Jews/Christians who are not living a Jewish/Christian life. If you're killing anyone- you're not following your religion.

    4) Keep on hating. Just like Jesus did. (<<<In case you are a complete idiot, that was 150% sarcastic)

    December 15, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Joshua Segovia

      Thank you. Took the words right out of my mouth. Your balanced view of the situation is spot on.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:41 am |
  7. Reality

    Summarizing one more time for the new members:

    • There was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • There was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    December 14, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
    • .........

      one more time hit report abuse on all reality bull sh it

      December 15, 2011 at 7:14 am |
    • Scuromondo

      Fundamentalist athiests are as unimaginative as fundamentalist religionists.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • G Lensky

      anon: Jehovah's witnesses are misguided but Harmless. I dont know what a Leftist is? I believe in forgiveness, charity, and loving ones enemy. I suppose that makes Me Leftist!
      If TLC is The Learning Channel they should have a show on what Muslim males are taught inside your Mosque. That wont happen will it? Islam does not want to share Mohammed's vision of an Islamic world!

      FYI: there is no such thing as a few Muslim extremists. When Americans die by the hands of your martyrs, whole nations cheer and praise God. That is not extremist that is the normal Islam.

      December 23, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
  8. Ungodly Discipline

    My parents raised me as a Muslim and I respect the people in this show. We are normal people. We only want peace.

    December 14, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
    • kolohepalu

      Don't worry, most (thinking) Americans don't care about who you choose to pray to in the privacy of your own home. You belong here just as much (in fact more) than the idiots making a big deal out of this show.

      December 22, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
    • FLADABOSCO

      My parents raised me as a Jew and our best friends in the neighborhood are our Moslem friends across the street. Which ancient scripture your parents made you read as child makes you neither saint or satan. It's how you act towards your fellow person, and as far as I have seen, living in a place with a lot of Moslems, is that they tend to be pretty nice people. I like their food too!

      December 24, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
  9. Rjd

    When have you ever heard of American Muslim groups agressively Protesting for Freedom of Religious expression for Christians, Jews, or Hindus in muslim countries? Non muslims in muslim countries are discriminated upon and are persecuted for things such as speaking bad of Islam ! American Muslims Always remain SILENT and do Nothing when it realy counts

    December 14, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
    • Stantop

      @Rjd, that's the exact point. Non-Muslims are often discriminated against in fundamentalist countries. Here's the thing though, we're not one of those countries.

      December 14, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
    • Mojonaamdi

      Got news for you...Muslims too are discriminated in those countries. In fact, in countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt (under Mubarak), Muslims who are moderate and preached tolerance and freedom, are treated worse than any other group. Most immigrant Muslims who are here in America, want to be here because we are free to practice here as we please. There are no whipping to force us to pray (like in Saudi) or to not drink alcohol, etc. The freedom that we have here,in my opinion, makes us stronger in our belief. I pray and I fast etc., because I want to not because I am forced to. That is liberating and that is what TLC is showing – Muslims are like everyone else. We have practicing Muslims, non practicing Muslims, we like football, we want the best for our children, we worry when our wives, husbands or kids gets sick, we help our neighbors, etc. When you bow to what the hate groups wants, they win. We are not in Saudi Arabia or Iran or Pakistan. This is America, te land of the free. I do not believe in fighting Lowes. They made a decision and that's theirs. I made a decisionnot to buy from them and that's mine. When Muslims overseas decides notto buy from Lowes, guess who lose...yep, all of us Americans, because less American exports, less jobs here.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • Mojonaamdi

      IT a TV show right. I wonder how many people know that very often the most popular TV shows in Arab countries and even Iran are American shows? Of course, maybe that why a lot of those folks believe that most Blacks are robbers , most Mexicans are drug dealers and most white women are loose.
      Maybe that group from Florida are going after the wrong show.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
  10. Portland tony

    All this free publicity for this crappy reality show. I'll bet the producer is bouncing off the walls. This WAS. Just a stupid realty made for TV show. Now it's all everyman's Muslim love/hate show.

    December 14, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
  11. Ken

    I think of how the Nazis began their rise to power by boycotting Jewish businesses. I think of how the Nazis accused Jews of conspiring to undermine the countries they lived in, and to to rule the world with Jewish law. Many of the commentators who have spoken in favor of Lowe's action and the Florida Family Association have implied there is a "Muslim Question" that needs resolving... the Nazis said the same thing about the Jews, too. Then I think...of all of the Americans who died defeating the Nazis. I think of how ashamed they'd be of Lowe's, of the FFA...and of the Americans who have so easily bought into anti-Islamic bigotry. As a Jew, I'm shocked and appalled that so many of my fellow Americans could have so quickly forgotten the Holocaust and the Nazis...enough to be repeating the same rhetoric and hate once directed at my people, on Muslims today.

    December 14, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
    • wayk

      You may want to extend this peace talk in Israel and see how it resonates there with all the muslim love you've got. Lowe's pulling out their ad spot on this reality show is of no consequence. Mind you, this show will go on in spite of Lowe's decision.

      December 14, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
    • Ken

      wayk: Not sure if you're aware of the fact, but 20% of Israelis are Arab Druze, Muslims, and Christians. They even serve in the Army. In Israel, 50% of all Jews are Sephardim...Arab Jews. What does this mean? It means the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is not and has never been about religion, or for that matter, race.

      December 14, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
    • wayk

      You seem to know the conflict as not being related to the muslims so you are not probably aware of this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/, you may want to read up a little further and further the peace cause and bring about a peaceful solution.

      December 14, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
  12. NorCalMojo

    If Muslims want me to like them as a group, the first thing they should do is stop whining and complaining so much.

    The last thing America needs is another whiny ethnic group.

    December 14, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
    • Snow

      yep.. that right is solely reserved for the angry white Christians whining about outside influence on their ye olde culture..

      December 14, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
  13. NorCalMojo

    My God. Are people still crying over this?

    No one cares. Wipe your nose and grow up.

    December 14, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
  14. wayne robinson

    I commend LOWES for making a very tough decision. The American public is being brainwashed. Do youself a favor. Read up on Islam, I'm sure you will find it quite scary. Wake up people, you are being duped.

    December 14, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
    • Johnson

      You can read up all you want about islam ;action speaks louder than words!

      December 14, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
    • Keith

      Johnson, Yes they certainly do! Planes in buildings, Fort Hood, Times Square bomber, underwear bomber, muslims burning churches in Eygpt and elsewhere, and on and on it goes....

      December 14, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
    • Sputnik

      Keith- what you have listed above is just a sample, check out this link to read about the other atrocities
      http://www.wikiislam.net/wiki/Persecution_of_Non-Muslims

      December 14, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
    • Troy

      So, the answer is to persecute them in return? Especially, persecute those Muslims that have come to America, often times looking to get away from the fighting and overly strict regimes? Not only is that un-American, that's bordering on inhuman.

      December 15, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  15. Cheryl

    Lowes is not the only company that has pulled their ads from the show. If people are going to complain about one company they should be complaining about all of them. In the end though, it's their money. They can do as they wish with it. I'm a Christian. I really don't care what anyone else believes in. In my opionin it's a persons choice and I'm not here to say that I'm right/wrong or that some else is right/wrong as none of us can prove what we believe any ways. So why fight about it. Sure there are some "bad" Muslims, but there are "bad" Christians just as well. Religion is such a stupid thing to fight over. If Lowes and these other companies want to show that they are discrimotry, then let them show their true colors. If you really have a problem with it then do something about it. Boycott them, write to do them, call the heads of their companies. But don't just sit around and complain.

    December 14, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • John

      You are truly a balanced individual with great advice. You convince me to boycott the idiots. thanks

      December 14, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
    • Kristen

      Thanks for this logical view- its refreshing.

      December 15, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • Joshua Segovia

      100% Agree.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:43 am |
  16. Tony

    Lowe's you did the right thing!

    December 14, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  17. Tom

    Lowes how low have you gotten. I will be shopping at Home Depot and Menards instead.

    December 14, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  18. Thinker

    Lowes already closed a couple of stores in our burbs. I think they actually want to benefit from this propaganda by gaining business from the conservatives

    December 14, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  19. Sue

    Ed, while you may have encountered "several" Muslims who were American and fighting NATO forces in Afghanistan, only two have been identified by the US Dept of Defense and that was PRIOR to 2004. The average American who is a practicing Muslim is no different than any Christian, Jew, Hindu or Buddhist. You are just adding to the hysteria, bigotry and hype. When Timothy McVeigh blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City, did you condemn Christianity? I didn't think so.....

    December 14, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  20. ed

    When I was deployed in 2004 – 2005 we processed several "All American Muslims" through my base. They were american citizens who had been captured fighting U.S./NATO forces in Afghanistan. The TLC show is pure propaganda and the left wing's uproar over Lowes pulling of ads is just a "hand caught in the cookie jar" reaction

    December 14, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
    • Loryncello

      First and foremost, thank you for your service. Unfortunately this is a case of the few tarnishing the perception of all. It often happens with police officers, too. When you deal with the worst of the worst, that is what you come to know and expect. When viewed in generalizations of faith, ethnicity or gender, none of us is without flaw. I do hope that you will encounter people in your life who will change your views. Until then, I cannot help but feel you are missing one of the greatest things about living in America, diversity, and the opportunity it affords you to expand your understanding of the world.

      December 14, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
    • G Lensky

      Right On Ed! It is the duty of Muslims to propagate the Islamic doctrine and ultimately implement Islamic law and order. That is the will of GOD. Those that stand in the way may be killed, lied to and undermined. This is what the clerics and mullahs teach. Further more the greatest killers of Muslims are other Muslims. Hardly a religion of peace. FYI, I am Catholic. Christians were not commissioned by Christ to implement Christian political Law. Christians should be the ones showing tolerance by how we live, not what we demand...We could do better but Islam is not to be trusted!

      December 18, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
    • anon

      @G Lensky I think you're describing Jehovah's witnesses.

      This "indoctrination" stuff is total bullcrap. Us nonchristians (I guess you call us leftists) have resisted for centuries the "propaganda" of door-to-door Christians trying to save our souls by telling us how awesome life would be to adopt their practices, generally by believing instead that as adults we can make up our own minds. Why is that so hard to apply towards Islam?

      If it's suicide bombers you're afraid of, then send a complaint to the TSA and let them deal with Muslim EXTREMISTS, not some TLC show about Muslim AMERICAN CITIZENS. But indoctrination through a TLC show? The TV comes with an off switch, right?

      December 18, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.