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Lowe's stores face protests for pulling ads from 'All American Muslim'

Lowe’s Home Improvement stores pulled its ads from the TV show 'All American Muslim' when the obscure Florida Family Association objected to a positive portrayal of Muslims in the US. Protesters are expected to picket Lowe's stores around the country Saturday.

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“It is clear to anyone with a rational mind that a show like ‘All-American Muslim’ is helpful to our society, because it shows that Muslims living in America are as American as any other religious or ethnic group,” says Fordham University communications professor Paul Levinson, author of “New New Media,” in an email. 

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“Lowe's decision to kowtow to The Florida Family Association is disgraceful,” he says. “But the silver lining is that this cowardly act will only bring more attention to the ‘All-American Muslim’ show that the Florida Family Association wants to banish ­– and this increase in attention is good for all Americans."

John Bowen, professor of sociocultural anthropology at Washington University, says he is struck by how mundane the show is, even boring.

“These are really, basic, ordinary people living ordinary lives like Jews, Baptists, Presbyterians and all the rest,” he says. “It seems misguided to me that this is a reason for concern.”

Even as protesters heap criticism on Lowes for abandoning the show, the program is not universally embraced by the Muslim community itself, though it defends it on principle.

Dawud Walid, Michigan director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, says many Muslims fault the portrayals on the show because its focus is limited to five families, all Lebanese Shia Muslims.

“Muslims complain to me that these five families are not diverse enough, and also that they have scenes of nightclubs which sell liquor, which is counter to normal Islamic teachings,” says Walid.

The outpouring of support for the show, he continues, “is not to be construed as an endorsement of these families on the show, but rather the bigger principle that to capitulate to the extremist arguments of the FFA is just wrong-headed.”

Participants in the Dearborn protest Saturday include the NAACP, the National Action Network, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and People for the American Way Foundation. The Rev. Charles Williams II, pastor of King Solomon Baptist Church in Detroit, will speak for The African American Ministers Leadership Council.

“We cannot support people that support corporations that produce and buy into this kind of hate and bigotry,” says Williams. He compares the need to stand up and say “no” today to the early civil rights protesters who went into prohibited restaurants, sat at lunch counters, and ordered food.

“I, as a Christian Baptist minister, believe it is more important to stand in unity and solidarity with brothers and sisters of the Muslim faith rather than in silence and consent with this.”

The Monitor's Weekly news Quiz 12/11-12/16

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