Thursday, December 15, 2011
By Tim Powers
For the Press and Guide
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Gary Peters signed a letter to the chairman and chief executive officer of Lowe’s, calling on him to reconsider a decision to cancel advertising from a show on The Learning Channel that features Dearborn Muslim-American families.
“I am concerned with Lowe’s decision to pull advertising on a show that depicts the lives of five Metro Detroit Muslim-American families,” said Peters, a Bloomfield Township Democrat. “This action is unacceptable and it appears the decision was made out of intolerance for Muslims. Metro Detroit is home to one of the largest Muslim communities in United States and I’m proud of our diverse culture.”
Many groups and organizations have expressed disappointment over Lowe’s decision to pull advertisements from the show.
Peters was joined by congressmen John Dingell of Dearborn, Hansen Clarke of Detroit, and some 29 others in signing the letter to Lowe’s.
Abraham H. Foxman, Anti-Defamation League national director said, “We are disappointed with Lowe’s decision to pull advertising from TLC’s ‘All-American Muslim’, since it appears that they took this action in response to an appeal that was rooted in anti-Muslim prejudice.”
Foxman’s statement is on the ADL website. The group watches defamation against many groups, including Arabs, Jews and many others. ADL sent a a letter to Robert Niblock, Chairman & CEO of Lowe’s Companies, Inc., expressing disappointment that the company listened to an appeal by the Florida Family Association, a Christian evangelical advocacy group whose views are rooted in anti-Muslim sentiments.
Foxman said in the letter to Lowe’s, “While there is reason to be concerned about some Americans motivated by radical interpretations of Islam, it is profoundly unfair and misguided to tarnish all Muslims in the United States with that brush. Most American Muslims are peace-loving, law-abiding citizens who cherish their life in America just as much as Christians, Jews, and followers of countless other faith traditions.”
Below is the full text of the letter from the 32 congress members:
Dear Mr. Niblock:
“We are writing with great concern over your recent decision to cancel your advertising on TLC’s All-American Muslim, a television show which follows the daily lives of five Lebanese American Muslim families in Dearborn, Michigan. This reality show takes place in one of the largest Muslim communities in the United States. This action flies in the face of your company’s charitable work and positive presence in communities nationwide
“We are dismayed that your decision was influenced by an online petition from the Florida Family Association, a group that has advocated discrimination and bigotry in the past. This group alleges that All-American Muslim “is propaganda that hides the Islamic agenda’s clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values.” This dangerously false view of American Muslims has no place in our society, and by pulling your advertising, you are tacitly agreeing that this absurd notion deserves credence. It does not.
“In your statement explaining why you decided to pull your advertising you claimed that this was a “hotly contested debate.” Quite frankly, there is absolutely no contested debate about the contribution of Muslim-Americans to American society. Yes, we face threats from radical Islamic extremists, but the millions of patriotic, peace-loving Muslims living and working in America are our best defense against them, and only strengthen the fabric of our nation. Instead, today they face the same bigoted notions that previously have been directed against African-Americans, Japanese-Americans, Irish-Americans, Italian-Americans, Jewish-Americans, Catholic-Americans and others.
“Further, your actions give credibility to the view that we accept discrimination towards Muslims as a nation, which harms our national security by feeding recruitment efforts by extremist Islamic organizations. In fact, Denis McDonough, President Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser, recently noted that Al Qaida’s core recruiting argument is that the West is at war with Islam. A chief goal of our national security policy is to undermine this contention. We fear that public actions like the one taken by your company this week, if not quickly corrected, may buttress this false argument.
“We implore you to reconsider your decision and live up to your corporate ideals of diversity and inclusion and the values of tolerance and acceptance that create the foundation of our nation.”