My Take: Pulling 'All-American Muslim' ads is bad business
December 16th, 2011
05:00 AM ET

My Take: Pulling 'All-American Muslim' ads is bad business

Editor's note: Zahid H. Bukhari is president of the Islamic Circle of North America.

By Zahid H. Bukhari, Special to CNN

Lowe’s Home Improvement recently caved to bigoted demands from the right-wing Florida Family Association and pulled advertising from TLC’s “All-American Muslim,” a reality show about five Muslim families in Dearborn, Michigan.

It shocks and saddens me that a Fortune 100 company such as Lowe’s, one of the most powerful brands in the United States and across the globe, would condone and side with outright bigotry. It’s not that we haven’t witnessed this behavior before, but Lowe’s decision to pull advertising from the show validates overt religious prejudice and gives credibility to an attack on our community.

What may come as a surprise to Lowe’s CEO Robert Niblock is that by taking a stand against our community, he is losing the business of a massive force in the American economy. American Muslims are more than 7 million strong and growing and have the buying power of between $170 billion and $200 billion annually.

Studies show that two-thirds of Muslim families make more than $50,000 a year, and a quarter make more than $100,000 a year. On average, we spend a lot of our money on home improvement - about $33 billion annually, according to an American Muslim market consumer study released by Dinar Standard, a research, advisory and business media firm that analyzes emerging Muslim markets.

The marketing firm JWT reported in 2007 that Muslim American consumers represented “a neglected market with huge potential for brands that are willing to connect with them.”

TLC’s “All-American Muslim” is the only television show about Muslim Americans. Niblock lacks insight and business savvy if he believes those who hate Muslims have greater purchasing power than Muslim Americans.

Just like the general consumer, Muslims like to shop where they feel welcome, whether that warm atmosphere is created by catering to our dietary requirements or by promoting our holidays.

When Best Buy wished shoppers a “Happy Eid Al-Adha” in its Thanksgiving 2009 circular, it faced similar backlash to what Lowe’s experienced from right-wing groups.

Thankfully, Best Buy stood firmly by its message. The American Muslim community was ecstatic and flooded the company with thanks, support and loyalty.

A 2010 study by the advertising firm Ogilvy & Mather found that 86% of American Muslim consumers believe American companies “need to make more of an effort to understand Muslim values” and 98% of Muslim consumers feel American brands “don’t actively reach out to Muslim consumers.”

Of those surveyed, 80% said they would "prefer to buy brands that support Muslim identity through promotion and celebration of religious festivals, for example." Most relevant to Lowe's is that 99% of Muslim consumers said they would stop supporting brands that offend them.

"To make matters even more alarming, a full 83% feel it is their responsibility to inform all their friends and family of what they know of the brand’s behavior," according to the study.

In 2006, Tom’s of Maine received halal certification, which means they are manufactured according to Islamic law, for almost 100% of its products. The Ogilvy & Mather study concluded that Tom's of Maine is now "one of the leaders in recognizing the needs of the American Muslim community.
“What they cannot certify as halal,” the study said, “they make clearly known to Muslim consumers, ensuring that they do not unwittingly compromise anyone."

The American Muslim Community has seen a tremendous outpouring of support from communities of all faiths in the past few days. The Islamic Circle of North America sent an e-mail blast to 50,000 people and urged them to act against the Lowe’s decision by boycotting their stores.

We have not, in 40 years as an organization, received a more positive and proactive response from the public. We are incredibly heartened and grateful for this show of support, and we know that we can make a statement through our boycott.

Lowe’s and other advertisers that are pulling ads from “All-American Muslim” may have pacified the completely baseless concerns of hate groups, but they’ve alienated American Muslims and their friends, neighbors and supporters.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Zahid H. Bukhari.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Business • Islam • Opinion • TV

soundoff (139 Responses)
  1. jackp_78

    I could not care less. I love to shop at Lowes and will continue to do so.

    December 20, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • jameser35

      Jesus is so happy about this. The second coming of Christ will happen at Lowes. Jesus is also a huge fan of Wal-Mart, many of his followers spend a good portion of their time there. But the best thing about Jesus is that he favors America over all other nations because of the righteousness of the Evangelicals. He also likes the fact that All politicians pay lip device to him and the majority of Americans actually believe that politicians always tell the truth.

      I'm a republican and the biggest challenge in deciding which candidate to nominate is determining which of them is mist likely to pass laws requiring that all Americans become Christian. Once we eradicate all other religions, and Mormonism, we will be ready for Jesus to come and kick some serious a$$.

      December 30, 2011 at 12:48 am |
  2. Coty

    So let me get this right. You want American companies to "reach out to the Muslims" but at same time Islam is notoriously bias to people outside their community. Give and it will come back to you. 🙂

    December 20, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • jameser35

      The world around us is proof that god exists...it proves the existence of Zeus and disproves the existence of Jesus and Allah. Once you've found zeus, you'll find peace. Hey atheists! prove that Zeus doesn't exist. Even scientists are now saying that there must be a Zeus.

      Now that I've given everyone indisputable truth of the existence of Zeus, can't we all go back to the obvious intentions of the Greek fathers of democracy? They meant for democratic nations to worship Zeus! Wake up libtards and find Zeus!

      December 30, 2011 at 12:33 am |
  3. Sam

    please sign on

    December 20, 2011 at 1:46 am |
  4. GarPundit

    I am a Jew, and I am boycotting Lowe's. We must not tolerate religious, racial, or cultural bigotry against anyone. If you look in the writings of *any* religion, you will find examples similar to the ones certain posters have cited to justify their intolerance toward Islam; but as for the nonsense that there's no such thing as an "All-American Muslim", I happen to be friends with several, including an active duty Marine. There were those who said that JFK shouldn't be allowed to be President because he would owe allegiance to the Pope above his country . That was nonsense, and so is this.

    December 19, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
    • jon

      Why would a Jew support a religion that wants to wipe all jews off the map and says so daily? Seems like you have a death wish

      January 8, 2012 at 7:58 am |
    • Billy

      Jon: Probably the same reasons "christians" believe in a book that allows you to murder children that are disobedient to their parents.

      January 15, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  5. Muneef

    Criminals still are working under the cover of religions...am sure that such cases were not limited to Islam.

    December 18, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • Keith

      Muneef, I'm glad to see you're okay considering the turmoil in your home country. I have to ask you though, did you see the video I posted below? And do you agree with the Sheik?

      December 18, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • Muneef

      Keith ...
      Thank you for asking, yes am well and back home from my medical treatment trip...
      Dear I have not watched that before until now when you asked me to.. Am shocked though to hear such comments which surely does not serve the true Islam or Islamic countries of multi cultures..
      My inner feelings tell me this man is a mercenary hired by enemies of Islam to say all those things... From his words I understand that he wants to bring the whole world back to earlier old ages rather than advancement into the future..
      Tell you what if I would want to conquer the world with Islam then that would be by being of good example which would drive people to want to become Muslims.... !! But would not agree that this should be by forcing people to become Muslims...
      It is against our teachings... Although he made it appear as possible if it was against countries that were proven to be engaged in some Crusaders wars (meaning by religious or non religious parties) against the Nation of Islam worldwide...
      kindly refer to the verses below ; 
      Sura 02:256
      Sura 03:64

      But if obliged we are told in this verse;
      Sura 02:216

      December 19, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • Muneef


      Just think what is happening now is some sort of a silent or a cold war or compet-ition between two ancient Hulks;


      December 19, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • Muneef

      As it seems who lite the fire failed to implement a back switch for putting it off again... Now as it seems the winds are in full control over these fires driving it where ever it goes;


      December 19, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • Muneef

      Listen how the seeds of the present fires were sawn ;


      December 19, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • Keith

      Muneef, Thank you for your response. There definetely is a radical element to your religion-and this guy looks like the poster child. His type is unacceptable to me. If he wants to fight my government ,then he fights me, too. As much as he tries to separate the two, it just can't be done. He wants to annialate Israel. This also is unacceptable. Anyway, glad to hear you're well.

      December 19, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • Muneef

      As informed you this guy is an enemy of Arabs and Islam, he is causing them more damage than any other party... Israel has many Arab Jews and Christians if any thing happens to it means those will as well suffer therefore it Is unacceptable..

      December 20, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • Muneef


      Many in the Israeli Army are Arabs whether are Jews,Christians,Muslims....and mainly are kept on the front lines...So if any thing happens to Israel it will mean that Arabs will be killing Arabs...!

      December 20, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • Muneef

      Check this conflict of loyalty ;

      December 20, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • jon

      You are correct that all religion is guilty of what radical Islam is doing today, except that it was nearly 500 years ago, that those other religions stopped acting like atilla the Hun. Islam hasn't evolved

      January 8, 2012 at 8:00 am |
  6. hamsta

    what cnn wont tell you is that ace auto, a muslim car dealership in pheonix arizona just got raided by the drug enforcement agency for dealing drugs money laundering and funding hezbollah.let cnn tell it and they will tell you the islamaphobic dea raided a good business.wake up stupid, there is no such thing as an all american muslim.they hate america and want to destroy america.

    December 18, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • All American Muslim

      You and likes of you have given all Americans bad name. Most of my white, Black, Spanish, Chinese, and all other minorities group recognize the difference between idiots in the religion Osama in Islam, Pat Robinson in CHristianity. These guys prepare Timotyh McVeigh and Mohammed Ata. Religion does not teach to kill innocent people. I am sure if you get a chance you will more likely to be Timothy McVeigh. God save us from you and other terrorists.

      December 18, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • GarPundit

      Hamsta: Where are your statistics on Christian drug dealers and the unsavory organizations they support? If you give a "fair and balanced" analysis, rather than a few anecdotes, maybe I'll listen. But I'm not holding my breath.

      December 19, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
  7. Muneef

    Too busy to Pray Five Times?

    3 Questions in the Grave

    December 18, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  8. Keith


    December 18, 2011 at 8:29 am |
    • Keith

      This is why Obama was so stupid to topple Egypts government and Libya, etc.. While good intentioned, just like in Iran-the radicals WILL take over. This is going lead one great big fat war. Way to go Obama. There's your great leader, David Johnson. Way to go David.

      December 18, 2011 at 8:34 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      so oppression is a good thing?

      December 18, 2011 at 8:42 am |
    • Keith

      TruthPrevails, Maybe it will be a Canadian passenger jet that gets blown out of the sky by one of the thousands of missing shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles. They were smuggled out of Libya while you were busy watching the Arab Spring on cnn. You are naive. But then again, you live in a fantasy land where there is no heaven or hell and no God, so I guess I'm not surprised. You epitomize the reprobate, debased mind. I would contend that your thinking presents a clear and present danger to the United States. Thanks for your useless foreign opinion, but we don't want or need it. Leave my country out of your silly little social experiment.

      December 18, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • Abigail

      I have visited this wsebite for the first time. You will notice that the publisher has used a grey background for a black print. There is a strain on the eyes to read as the background and the print almost seem to merge. I have been unable to read the matter. And there are probably many who might just leave the wsebite and not bother to comment. Please look into this and do the needful. JazakAllah Khair.VA:F [1.9.7_1111]please wait...VA:F [1.9.7_1111](from 0 votes)

      April 1, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  9. Farzana

    It is a shame for a company like Lowe's to have such a double standard. All muslims should avoid going to Lowe's for their purchases.

    December 18, 2011 at 2:16 am |
    • shotgun slade

      Yep get your home made bomb supplies elsewhere

      December 18, 2011 at 7:37 am |
    • hamsta

      but i guess the drug enforcement agency are islamaphobic for raiding ace auto, a muslim car dealership in arizona.i guess dealing drugs money laundering and funding hezbollah is good business.wake up stupid they came to america to make money to go to war with us.stop drinking the kool aid, its not good for you.

      December 18, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • GarPundit

      Jews, Atheists, Wiccans, Hindus, Buddhists, and Christians should also boycott Lowes. If we tolerate acts of bigotry against others, we have no right to complain when acts of bigotry are perpetrated against us!

      December 19, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  10. Muneef

    “God does not change men's condition unless they change their inner selves; and when God wills people to suffer evil [in consequence of their own evil deeds], there is none who could avert it: for they have none who could protect them from Him.” [Qur’an 13:11]

    "Muslim Convert Support Group"
    (see https://www.facebook.com/groups/MuslimConvertSupport/)

    December 18, 2011 at 2:16 am |
    • Reality

      One more time and yet to have one Muslim debate the points of said deprogramming:

      Saving Muslims from the hajj and other hyped events is quite easy!!! (developed by yours truly based on the studies of Armstrong, Rushdie, Hirsi Ali, Richardson and Imam Bayhaqi)

      The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:
      ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

      Are you ready?

      Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

      The First Five of the 77 Branches:

      "1. Belief in Allah"

      aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your self-cleansing neurons.

      "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

      Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

      "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

      A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

      "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

      Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

      Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

      Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

      "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)
      Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

      Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

      Unfortunately, there are not many Muslim commentators/readers on this blog so the "two-minute" cure is not getting to those who need it. If you have a Muslim friend, send him a copy and help save the world.

      Analogous steps are available at your request for deprogramming the myths of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Paganism..

      December 18, 2011 at 8:14 am |
    • .........

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

      December 18, 2011 at 8:26 am |
  11. TARIQ

    Time has come of anti Christ, as said by our prophet. time for Muslims to unite to think to act save their faith, when Muslims r dis united curse of ALLAH comes on them , time to awake it is the beginning

    December 18, 2011 at 1:44 am |
  12. Iqbal Khan


    December 17, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
  13. Iqbal Khan


    December 17, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
  14. Reality

    o Why Islam is bad for business!!!

    "Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends." (Surah 5:51)

    "Believers, when you encounter the infidels on the march, do not turn your backs to them in flight. If anyone on that day turns his back to them, except it be for tactical reasons...he shall incur the wrath of God and Hell shall be his home..." (Surah 8:12-)

    "Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God's religion shall reign supreme." (Surah 8:36-)

    "...make war on the leaders of unbelief...Make war on them: God will chastise them at your hands and humble them. He will grant you victory over them..." (Surah 9:12-)

    "Fight against such as those to whom the Scriptures were given [Jews and Christians]...until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued." (Surah 9:27-)

    "It is He who has sent forth His apostle with guidance and the true Faith [Islam] to make it triumphant over all religions, however much the idolaters [non-Muslims] may dislike it." (Surah 9:31-)

    "If you do not fight, He will punish you sternly, and replace you by other men." (Surah 9:37-)

    "Prophet make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home." (Surah 9:73)

    "Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them." (Surah 9:121-)

    "Say: 'Praise be to God who has never begotten a son; who has no partner in His Kingdom..." (Surah 17:111)

    "'How shall I bear a child,' she [Mary] answered, 'when I am a virgin...?' 'Such is the will of the Lord,' he replied. 'That is no difficult thing for Him...God forbid that He [God[ Himself should beget a son!...Those who say: 'The Lord of Mercy has begotten a son,' preach a monstrous falsehood..." (Surah 19:12-, 29-, 88)

    "Fight for the cause of God with the devotion due to Him...He has given you the name of Muslims..." (Surah 22:78-)

    "Blessed are the believers...who restrain their carnal desires (except with their wives and slave-girls, for these are lawful to them)...These are the heirs of Paradise..." (Surah 23:1-5-)

    "Muhammad is God's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another." (Surah 48:29)

    "Shall the reward of goodness be anything but good?...Dark-eyed virgins sheltered in their tents...They shall recline on green cushions and fine carpets...Blessed be the name of your Lord..." (Surah 55:52-66-)

    December 17, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
    • Iqbal Khan


      December 17, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
  15. David Johnson


    All the Evangelicals want is to dominate. They make me want to vomit. I really wish you would reconsider advertising on this show. We must fight against these racist idiots.

    Evangelicals: Prove that your Christian god exists and Allah does not. Should be easy, right ?

    Muslims and all minorities: Please vote for the Dems in 2012. The Dems are not racist.


    December 17, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
    • Keith

      Go to Youtube and watch an interview from 12-12-11 on Jordanian TV, which is state run. In it you will see how islam views the west and Israel and h0m0s^xuals-the first to be converted, the latter two wiped out. This is the real islam, not the islam lite portrayed by cnn.

      December 17, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
    • MuslimKiller

      David is an idiot. Worse, he's a Democrat. I recommend David take a sbatical to a Muslim country and profess his feelings there. David might lose his mind if it were in his head and not his @rse.

      December 21, 2011 at 8:21 am |
  16. JFariweather

    I live in the Texas Panhandle and the degree of prejudice is absolutely withering, even in the mildest examples. I once heard someone refer to a neighbors in a mocking tone as his "muslim friends" He then looked at the others present, saw their reactions, then quickly backtracked by saying that they weren't really his friends.
    The weird thing about the bigot group from Florida is that they felt that by showing the Muslims as normal Americans and not as haters of America, this was supposedly a misleading image. What a bunch of idiots. Perhaps they should remember that a couple of thousand years ago another strongly religious group had similar thoughts about Christians.

    December 17, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
  17. Pranay Merchant

    I think that this completely uncalled for U-turn by Lowe's is not only a victory for the bigoted propagators of Islamophobia but a huge loss for both Islam as well as secularism in society as a whole. Contrary to their belief that their reputation among the non-Muslim population would dwindle, that was undoubtedly the reason for pulling their ads from the TLC TV show ‘American Muslim’, the bad press they have earned in the media as a result of the controversy it has sparked has far outweighed any loss in customers because of their support of the show.
    There is no doubt in my mind that this furor is not going to blow over very soon, and Lowe’s will probably lose a part of their Muslim and Islam-friendly customer customers, however minor. This isn’t even the worst part, since it won’t hurt their revenues very much. What’s worse, is that a corporation as big as Lowe’s, with it’s large corporate social responsibility is fuelling the fire in an already controversial situation where even the smallest example of tactlessness can spark a nation wide dispute.
    I think Lowe’s should come out and apologize publicly to all those it has offended. It isn’t beyond the realm of possibility. We have seen larger corporations such as BP make public apologies, albeit for different reasons.

    December 17, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • Keith

      Go watch the video described to David Johnson. You can get to it by John McTernan's Insights Blog (Friday). Watch it and then tell me about islamophobia. Phobia is irrational fear of something that doesn't really exist. I suppose the guy in the interview on Jordanian TV doesn't exist either?

      December 17, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
    • David Johnson


      Irrational fear of something that doesn't exist... like god?

      I don't trust the Muslims, but I also don't trust the Evangelicals. I consider both, to be dangerous to the country I love. If the Jews had protested the show, I would understand. I have no use for Evangelicals. They are not Christians. Their demigod is militant. Loving the rich and hating the poor. Odd, if you read the Gospels you would come away with a different view point.

      The Muslims are here. Should more come? No, I don't think so. But trying to find common ground seems like a good idea. The Evangelicals should not decide what will be watched and what will be rejected. Ratings should do that.


      December 17, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • BG

      "... what will be watched and what will be rejected. Ratings should do that."

      Ratings did. Now please pull you head out of your ass and take a breath. The -real- issue about this Muslim propaganda is how Muslim organizations are now taking this opportunity to allege that -any- advertisers not spending ad money on the show are guilty 'by omission.' It's simple blackmail. Nothing more. How 'American' of them.


      You're hell-bent (it's just an expression, Dave. I'm not handing you a snake) on pushing your anti-Christian agenda, but you've been blinded to the larger threat. You said earlier " Muslims and all minorities: Please vote for the Dems in 2012." Really? This makes no sense, even by your own "distrusting" standard. You're just looking for a convenient ally who will happily spit in your liberal eye when their interests are satisfied and their agenda is achieved.

      Like most rabid liberals, you're a foolish, short-sighted opportunist, "David."

      Or is it Ahmed?

      December 18, 2011 at 1:03 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.