Lowe's Home Improvement made a recent decision to pull advertising from TLC's "All-American Muslim" in the wake of an email campaign by a Florida-based right-wing hate group, setting a dangerous precedent and emboldening bigots.
In response, People For the American Way Foundation president Michael B. Keegan released the following statement:
"Lowe's is setting a dangerous precedent by meeting the demands of a fringe group, the Florida Family Association. Let's be very clear about what happened.
"TLC launched a popular reality show called 'All-American Muslim' about everyday Americans, who happen to be Muslim, going about their lives. They play sports, they go school, they go to work and pay their taxes. This was too much for the anti-Muslim fear mongers at the Florida Family Association, who were outraged that the show was depicting 'Muslims as ordinary folks just like you and me.' An article on the organization's website suggests that the show instead depict 'one of its secular, attractive nominal Muslims as he decided to get more serious about his faith, and ended up participating in jihad activity or Islamic supremacist efforts.'
"The controversy should have ended there. Lowe's should have ignored the canned emails and gone about its business. Instead it caved to a group of fanatics who want to make everyone live in accordance with their narrow and rigid religious beliefs.
"Lowe's should not base its advertising decisions on religion or the complaints of groups preaching intolerance. The company claims it is committed to diversity -- it's time to prove it.
"There are millions of Americans who happen to be Muslim, and there are tens of millions more who won't stand for religious bigotry. This holiday season, Americans should boycott hate. Lowe's has taken the side of the bigots. I'm encouraging our members, and all liberty-loving Americans, to take their business elsewhere until Lowe's rejects extremism and reinstates its advertising on 'All-American Muslim.'"