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. 1SeekingJannah

    I am not bothering with all the yelling. Biggots woun't listen they will just justify their lies and bigotry. I have spoken more loudly with my MONEY than all the yelling will do. I am in the middle of building an apartment in my basement for for my in-laws. The first 25% of supplies came from Lowes as it was just down the street. Since this happened my supplies come from local small lumber yards and building liquidators. Lowes lost thousands of dollars in sales. I have to run around a little more, but as I see it, it is a win win situation. Small mom and pop organizations love my business and I get the opportunity to meet real people in the community. It may take them a second to get used to a Happy Muslim woman wearing and abaya and Hijab buying drywall and lumber and pluming supplies and teaching her son about construction, but this is more a curiosity than everything. It tends to break down the same lies and stereotypes that these bigot are trying to propagate. Because I am clearly not an oppressed or subservient woman. There are extremist on all sides. And thankfully the more mud the extremist throw in either direction, the more the moderates on both sides of the line take time to talk.

    January 5, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • LISA

      Being a White Christian woman with olive complected children has painfully opened my eyes to the hatred that the religious right breeds. I've never met you but I want you to know that I'm sorry for any pain that you have suffered by those who have been blinded by ignorance,hatred,and their own self righteousness.

      My entire family no longer shops at Lowes.and I continue to spread the word.

      May 8, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • John

      You do realize the Hijab has nothing to do with Islam. It is actually an old Jewish garb that was adopted by oppressive religious leaders. There is nothing in the Qu'Ran that says you must wear a HiJab.

      Give it is only a matter of custom, should it not be better to adapt to the customs of your adopted country?

      I am looking for discussion ....

      February 5, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
    • Just Call Me Lucifer

      Your religion is a virus. I suppose you wear a hijab because it makes you feel good. Yeah right. Pathetic.

      August 26, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
  2. vikinglander

    Jesus, save me from your followers...

    January 5, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  3. HeyZeus

    Oh Yeah, Whoo Hoo, Lowe's.. What a bunch of bigoted rednecked pieces of Trailer Trash troll these boards. Lowe's My 5 grand credit line officially canceled this morning. I think HD and ACE will get my money from now on. And as for all of the self righteous inbreds on here that call themselves Christians, wow; just wow...

    I guess it would be ok then for people to start pulling their sponsorships of Shriners hosptials then? I mean they DO support the world's MOST violent religion, and that would be Christianity...

    January 4, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
  4. momoya

    Meanwhile, there's millions starving around the world, folks, but hey, let's kiss the ass of the self-righteous religious nuts who think the best use of their time is threatening a store who advertises on a show that simply presents a different sort of religious nutdom.

    LT's response at 3:26 to JT says it all!

    January 4, 2012 at 1:43 am |
  5. CBR

    Lowes does have the right to pull advertising but to do so because of one group in Florida is the true problem. When this group decides another show is not worthy of a Lowes ad will the company make the same decision. Lowes made a statement and now the people will speak. Those who sanction this action and those who agree should think about what this all means. Maybe it is not time to jump on the bandwagon.

    January 2, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  6. Knotme

    The Book of Islam....the outback replacement for the Sears & Robuck Catalog.

    January 2, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  7. B.A.

    I guess I'd better write Lowes and let them know that I am proud of them for their decision. The "politically correct" thing to do would have been wrong. I'm switching from Home Depot on principle not because of any wrong suffered from H. D. I just think Lowea profits need to speak for the American people that know what Islam really stands for. And it's not peace!

    January 1, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • momoya

      A hard look at the numbers would prove that the muslims have just as much right to claim the Christianity is no religion of peace, either. Or don't you consider the weight of your own argument in your opponents hands?

      January 4, 2012 at 1:51 am |
  8. Jeff

    Propaganda? Do you people know what propaganda is? I suggest some of do a little research on true propaganda! As for this Muslim/Christian nonsense...both have blood on their hands. You can justify ANYTHING with religion. Christians and Muslims should stop using religion to justify their lack of moral fiber.

    January 1, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  9. JC

    As a contractor who buys at the best price, wherever it may be, I will be willing to give Lowes a bit of price slack because of their stand on this issue. Business should be able to support whatever they decide, not be dictated to by any religious group. Why is it ok for Muslim's to kill Christians in Muslim countries and not ok for a person or company to support what they choose in a free society?

    December 31, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
    • LT

      Really JC? Did you really say businesses should not be dictated to by any religious group? Maybe you meant that businesses have the right to kowtow to whichever religious group that makes them the most money, regardless of the bigoted, narrow-minded, distorted views of that fear mongering group of control freaks.

      January 2, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • grist

      It is definitely not ok for Muslim's to kill Christians in Muslim countries. It is definitely legal and ok for a person or company to support what they choose in a free society. But, in a free country, those who think the company made a cowardly decision definitely have the right to criticize the decision and to choose not to shop at the store. Ain't freedom great!

      January 4, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
  10. jameser35

    At that point Christians will have done most of the atheists work for them. Only one more to go.

    December 30, 2011 at 3:29 am |
  11. jameser35

    Get rid of Jdubs, then seventh day, eventually only one Christian dogma will remain

    December 30, 2011 at 3:26 am |
  12. jameser35

    Should we ban Islam in America?

    December 30, 2011 at 3:22 am |
    • jameser35

      Then we could ban Mormonism!

      December 30, 2011 at 3:24 am |
    • lucianne

      maybe we should ban the religions that forbid eating pork, or stone adulterers, or prohibit idolatry, or kill and main heretics and non believers or invade countries that have a different set of religious beliefs – what would that leave? hindus? non-believers? certainly no more christians, or muslims, which might mean no more wars... so how would we support our economies?

      January 4, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  13. betty

    All this fear, hate and intolerance... Shameful for true Americans.

    So much for the Christian influence so many of you purport yourselves to be (and do you know that Christianity persevered in spite of its own violent period of misusing its own holy book??)

    December 30, 2011 at 12:38 am |
    • AbnSppr

      Hope you had on your veil when you were typing bettty.

      December 31, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  14. TL the alligator

    I too will spend a few hundred dollars in home improvement items as a show of support and solidarity with Lowes.......furthermore, i say DO NOT watch that channel any more nor any of its future programs as a show of disdain for what they tried doing with this "American Muslim" crap.........there is no way to sugar coat all this islamic garbage, it is what it is--GARBAGE.

    December 28, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
    • betty

      Garbage??? It is you who sounds like ignorant trailer trash.

      December 30, 2011 at 12:32 am |
  15. JLP

    Anyone that thinks Islam is a peaceful religion, just open a web page and read of the bombings, beheading`s and threats of Jihad,and then tell me that Islam is peaceful. Lowe`s did the right thing.

    December 27, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
    • jameser35

      What are you afraid of?

      December 30, 2011 at 3:51 am |
  16. Bob K

    Good for Lowes. treat them here like Christians get treated there, if they are even allowed to be there

    December 27, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • responder

      You're right BobK. Why should the United States of America have any more respect or tolerance for differing opinions than Yemen?

      December 29, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  17. RFCarpenter

    Lowes did the right thing. This show is CLEARLY designed to brain wash the American public even more that it has up to now.

    December 26, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  18. Curt

    They make the American dream seem so great, then you get injured at work and realize you get paid less because you have become a victim of the "american dream"

    December 25, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  19. Curt

    I don't care.

    Man this propaganda television must stop...
    I mean reality for most people is not owning a house like that.......

    I guess you have to be sucking money from tax payers to get a nice house now-a-days. (Po-lice)

    December 25, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  20. Mikej

    Lowes is a good store I will buy twice as much there as before.

    December 25, 2011 at 12:15 am |
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About this blog

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.