Archive for TLC

Faux Progressive and Self-Hating Loon Asra Nomani Sides with Lowe’s, How Predictable

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2011 by loonwatch

Not all anti-Muslim loons are non-Muslims.  Indeed, there are a handful of loons that are in fact self-hating Muslims.  Case in point: Asra Nomani.

(I’ve written about her before, so I’ll skip introducing her.)

Nomani dons the mantle of a “moderate, progressive, and liberal” Muslim, yet she consistently takes the side of right-wing, uber-conservative loons against Muslims.  It is faux progressives like her who have tarnished the image of progressivism in much of the Muslim world.

Over the years, Asra Nomani has sided with extreme right-wingers and Islamophobes against Muslims time and time again.  At first, her absurd views had a lot of shock value.  Now, they’re just plain predictable.  So, it’s no surprise that Ms. Nomani has taken the side of Lowe’s, which pulled its advertisements from TLC’s All-American Muslim after Islamophobes sent them letters of protest.  The Islamophobes complained that the show only showed regular Muslims instead of Terrorist Muslims (since of course all Muslims are Terrorists).

Asra Nomani’s article, like her other work, is intellectually bereft.  The blurb to her article says:

Another advertiser pulled out of TLC’s All-American Muslim—but it’s not because the company is ‘Islamophobic.’ It’s simply a terrible program, writes Asra Q. Nomani.

The only problem with this, the entire premise of her article, is that neither Lowe’s or Kayak pulled out because the show is “a terrible program.”

Nomani writes (emphasis is mine):

Lowe’s, the national chain, did the right thing in pulling its advertising from the series. The company said it killed advertising from the show because it had become too controversial, but there is another legitimate reason the company could have given for yanking its advertising: it’s bad TV.

It “could have given” this “legitimate reason” to yank its advertisement, but it didn’t.  It pulled the advertisement because Islamophobes emailed them to do so.  Even their cover-excuse wasn’t that the show was “bad TV” but that “it had become too controversial” as Nomani’s own words attest to.

How did Lowe’s do “the right thing” if they pulled the show for the wrong reason, i.e. cowing to anti-Muslim bigotry?  To understand this point, imagine for instance if Lowe’s pulled its ads from CNN’s Black in America not because it was “bad TV” but because a bunch of white racists emailed them complaining that the show portrayed blacks too sympathetically?  That it only showed regular black people instead of murderers and rapists?  If Lowe’s succumbed to this bigotry by yanking its ads from Black in America, would Asra Nomani applaud this action (regardless of the show’s quality)?

The quality of All-American Muslim is irrelevant, because the reason advertisers pulled out had nothing to do with that, but everything to do with the fact that Islamophobes lost their minds that a show would show normal Muslims on television.

Asra Nomani’s whole argument is based on three words she slipped into her writing: “could have given.”  Except it didn’t.

True, Nomani was more likely referring to Kayak’s lame excuse for pulling its advertisement (see my earlier article about Kayak’s “apology”); she writes:

Now, Kayak, an Internet travel company, announced that it too is pulling its advertising. Robert Birge, chief marketing officer at Kayak, put it as plain as it gets: “…I watched the first two episodes,” he wrote in a letter to customers, titled “We Handled This Poorly.” “Mostly, I just thought the show sucked.”

But here again, Asra Nomani misleads the reader.  Robert Birge, the Kayak executive, does mention that he thought the show sucks, but the bulk of his explanation is about how the show became a “lightning rod” and how TLC supposedly didn’t inform Kayak about this.  Birge wrote:

When we decided to give our money to TLC for this program, we deemed the show a worthy topic. When we received angry emails regarding our decision to advertise, I looked into the show more thoroughly.

The first thing I discovered was that TLC was not upfront with us about the nature of this show. As I said, it’s a worthy topic, but any reasonable person would know that this topic is a particular lightning rod. We believe TLC went out of their way to pick a fight on this, and they didn’t let us know their intentions. That’s not a business practice that generally gets repeat business from us. I also believe that it did this subject a grave disservice. Sadly, TLC is now enjoying the attention from this controversy.

So, after the show received “angry emails” from Islamophobes, they then looked into the show and pulled it because TLC supposedly hadn’t informed them that the show would be controversial.  In other words, their explanation is very similar to that given by Lowe’s.

In the concluding sentence of the “apology”, Birge writes:

Based on our dealings with TLC and the simple assessment of the show, I decided we should put our money elsewhere.

Even if we say the decision was partially due to the “controversy” issue and party due to the show “sucking”, does Asra Nomani not see the problem that the show was pulled only after Kayak received “angry emails” from Islamophobes?  Again, how would we feel about Kayak if it pulled its ads from Black in America after receiving “hate mail” from Neo-Nazi groups?  Any lame excuses such as the show was “too controversial” or that “it sucked” would not be taken seriously.

Asra Nomani goes on:

To me, the issue of Islam-bashing has become a straw man in this debate. This isn’t a referendum on whether a person hates on Islam or not. It’s about TV—and what makes for good TV and what doesn’t. For example, I made it through only two episodes of TLC’s Toddlers and Tiaras, because how many times can we watch Princess Penelope throw a temper tantrum? If Lowe’s or Kayak didn’t advertise there, would we argue that they were trashing prissy little girls and their mom? No, we’d say that they don’t want to spend their ad dollars on bad TV.

TLC’s Toddlers and Tiaras does receive advertisements, even if you and I agree “it sucks.”  Has Nomani never flipped through channels on television and watched a reality show?  The vast majority of them suck, but even still they are able to garner advertisements.  Also, since when did companies restrict advertisements to shows they themselves personally watch?

The problem is that All-American Muslim is being singled out and unable to hold some advertisers because the show is about Muslims.  Had these companies pulled out from the show on their own volition due to ratings–and not immediately after Islamophobes demanded them to–nobody would be crying foul.  So, in reality, it is Asra Nomani who is raising a straw man argument: again, if it had really been about the show sucking and its ratings tanking, then nary a Muslim or liberal would protest.

Asra Nomani’s article blares:

To me, the issue of Islam-bashing has become a straw man in this debate. It’s about TV.

This assessment reflects how vacuous Asra Nomani truly is (I see absolutely nothing intellectually stimulating ever coming from this woman): it’s not about T.V. at all–it is all about Islam-bashing.  The show was pulled because Islamophobes protested it and not because the show “sucks.”  This is exactly the reason why in my earlier article about Kayak’s “apology” and this one, I have not even tried to defend the show’s quality, because that subjective opinion is simply irrelevant.  But if you want to go down that path, I can safely say that there exists no dearth of sucky programs on the boob tube, all of which seem to attract and hold advertisers just fine.

*  *  *  *  *

In my previous article about Asra Nomani, written almost exactly one year ago, I mentioned how she always feels compelled to inject herself into all of her articles:

Notice how she prefaces her statement with “I am Muslim.” Well then, you must automatically be a spokesperson for Muslims everywhere, and whatever you say about Islam and Muslims must be true. You are, after all, a real life Muslim! In fact, Asra Nomani can hardly ever write an article or argue a point without injecting herself into it, such is her self-absorbed nature.

Lo and behold, the very first words of her article about All-American Muslim:

As a real-life American Muslim…

And elsewhere:

As an American Muslim consumer…

And still elsewhere:

…I’m Muslim…

We get it!  You are a real life, living, breathing Muslim!  Well then, you must be an expert on everything about Islam and Muslims.

Asra Nomani keeps mentioning that she’s a real life Muslim because the only reason she has obtained some level of fame is because (1) she voices right-wing views against Muslims and Islam, and (2) she is a Muslim herself.  If she were simply a right-winger, she’d just be another run-of-the-mill Islamophobe trolling the internet.  On the other hand, if she were just Muslim, well then so what?  But it’s the combination of #1 and #2 that sustains her notoriety, because certain right-wing elements like to promote a self-hating Muslim who says all the things they themselves say: if even a Muslim says it about Islam and Muslims, then it must be true!

Meanwhile, Nomani remains very hungry and desperate for attention, which is why she added this absolutely unnecessary bit to her article:

As an American Muslim consumer, I can say that I’ll likely buy the lumber for my son’s treehouse at Lowe’s, and I’ll switch from Expedia to Kayak. I like the company’s common sense

Asra Nomani is like the black kid who hung a Confederate flag in his dorm room; he wouldn’t have garnered national attention had he been a white kid.  And likewise, Nomani’s writing would whither into oblivion if she didn’t constantly invoke her “I’m a Muslim” card.  That’s because aside from this fact, there is nothing at all interesting to learn from Asra Nomani’s uninspired writing.

Danios was the Brass Crescent Award Honorary Mention for Best Writer in 2010 and the Brass Crescent Award Winner for Best Writer in 2011.

‘All-American Muslim’ Controversy Inspires Lowe’s Commercial Parody (Video)

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , on December 17, 2011 by loonwatch

All American Muslim FamilyAll American Muslim Family

‘All-American Muslim’ Controversy Inspires Lowe’s Commercial Parody (Video)

by Jethro Nededog
(from The Hollywood Reporter)

The video imagines what the retail home improvement company may not want the Florida Family Association to see.

After Lowe’s made it public that it had pulled its ads from the TLC reality series, All-American Muslim, boycotts have been called, protests planned, and it even got hip-hop mogul, Russell Simmons, attempting to buy out the remaining advertising on the show.

But for Gregory Bonsignore, Parvesh Cheena, and Rizwan Manji, the controversy inspired them to create a hilarious short film they’re calling the “unaired Lowe’s commercial for All-American Muslim.”

“We actually threw it together at a meeting for Beta Testing, a Muslim Cosby Show we’re pitching around,” Bonsignore tells The Hollywood Reporter.

The video follows two Muslim men as they shop at a Lowe’s store and attract suspicion with the items they are gathering. What could they be building? All is revealed at the end of the video.

Lowe’s action was a result of pressure from conservative Christian group, the Florida Family Association (FFA). They argue, that “the show profiles only Muslims that appear to be ordinary folks while excluding many Islamic believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish.”

Keep the FFA’s argument in mind as you watch the commercial parody below.

Bonsignore is repped by the Brant Rose Agency, Cheena by Global Artists Agency and Brillstein Entertainment Partners, and Manji by DBA/Fortitude.

All-American Muslim: Kayak Executive Robert Birge Issues World’s Worst “Apology” Ever

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on December 15, 2011 by loonwatch

Lowes has been at the center of the All-American Muslim controversy for having caved to anti-Muslim bigotry and pulling its advertisements from the show.  But there is another company that is also just as guilty: Kayak.

So far, Kayak has been flying under the radar, with Lowes absorbing much of the heat.  That may change after Kayak’s Chief Marketing Officer Robert Birge issued what can only be called the world’s worst “apology” ever.  It was not only dishonest and rude, but it was also simply a “non-apology,” shifting most of the blame to TLC and the show itself!

The “apology” begins with this gem:

Our team includes people who are descended from early Europeans who came here escaping religious intolerance, and newer Americans who include many religions. We get what America is about.

So basically, his team consists mostly of white people.  Oh, it also has some non-white people, who Robert Birge considers “newer Americans.”  Does his “150-person team” not have a single black, American Indian, or Hispanic person?  Apparently, Mr. Birge does not realize that black people are as old as this country (they were brought here in chains and the country was built on their backs), that American Indians were here long before Birge’s ancestors were, or that Mexicans lived on the land long before Europeans invaded their country.  Does his company not have any Japanese-Americans, who have been in this country for generations?  Even many Arab-Americans in Dearborn itself have been in the U.S. for three generations.  To Robert Birge, I suppose these are all “newer Americans.”

Then, Mr. Birge issues his non-apology:

When we decided to give our money to TLC for this program, we deemed the show a worthy topic. When we received angry emails regarding our decision to advertise, I looked into the show more thoroughly.

The first thing I discovered was that TLC was not upfront with us about the nature of this show. As I said, it’s a worthy topic, but any reasonable person would know that this topic is a particular lightning rod. We believe TLC went out of their way to pick a fight on this, and they didn’t let us know their intentions. That’s not a business practice that generally gets repeat business from us. I also believe that it did this subject a grave disservice. Sadly, TLC is now enjoying the attention from this controversy.

What exactly didn’t TLC disclose “about the nature of this show”?  A New York Times article counters this lame excuse:

A reporter who received an e-mail from Kayak with Mr. Birge’s blog post was puzzled because there was considerable publicity about “All-American Muslim” before its debut. Articles outlined the contents of the show and its focus on the Muslim-American community of Dearborn, Mich., a Detroit suburb.

Exactly.  Contrary to what Mr. Birge insinuates, there was nothing mysterious about the show or its intent: it was clear to everyone, even the Islamophobic bigots themselves, that it was about showing how American Muslims are regular people just like you and me: they have jobs, mortgages, children, dreams, etc.  What was unclear about this?

Read between the lines and it is clear what Robert Birge is saying: he is arguing, just like the anti-Muslim bigots, that this show about American Muslims had an ulterior motive and a secret agenda.  You know those swarthy and stealthy Muslims always have some secret Islamic agenda and can’t be trusted!

The NYT article goes on (bold is mine):

The reporter e-mailed Kayak to ask why Mr. Birge believed TLC kept information from the company. In an e-mail response, Mr. Birge replied: “When TLC pitched ‘All-American Muslim’ to advertisers, it was characterized as a fair-and-balanced look at the life of an American Muslim.”

“However,” he continued, “what was not disclosed was the pre-existing controversy surrounding race, religion and specifically the divide between the Muslim and Christian communities in Dearborn, Mich.”

Dearborn “has been a center of controversy for right or wrong,” he added. “However, that was omitted by TLC when it pitched the show.”

Here, the Kayak executive regurgitates the arguments raised by the Islamophobes.  For example, Florida Family Association argued that the show did not depict “a fair-and-balanced look at the life of an American Muslim” since it didn’t deal with certain issues, such as how Muslims (supposedly) want to impose Sharia on non-Muslims.  Mr. Birge says almost the exact same thing, arguing that the show fails to depict “a fair-and-balanced look at the life of an American Muslim” because “what was not discussed was the pre-existing controversy surrounding race, religion and specifically the divide between the Muslim and Christian communities in Dearborn, Mich.”  He stops just short of saying that the Muslims of Dearborn are subjecting the Christians of the city to Islamic values.  (Only Christians are allowed to impose their views on others in this country.)

Instead of denouncing the FFA, Robert Birge focuses his wrath on FFA’s target, TLC and the show.

Can you imagine if Kayak had pulled ads for a black reality show because of a controversy (created by Neo-Nazis) that it failed to depict “a fair-and-balanced look at the life of” black people–you know, all those “pre-existing controvers[ie]s surrounding” crime, drugs, and violence.

Just imagine if Kayak had treated Jewish-Americans this way.  What kind of apology do you think Kayak would be issuing then?

Furthermore, as the NYT article points out:

There seems to be nothing from TLC in the way of news releases or other material from the channel that would suggest it wanted to be inflammatory on the issue of Muslims in America or take advantage of the ensuing controversy over the advertising on the show.

Might I ask Mr. Birge: if Kayak had known that anti-Muslim bigots would protest the show for showing American Muslims as normal people, would they simply have not advertised on the show, using “controversy” as an out?  Isn’t that the very definition of “cav[ing] to hatred”?

Robert Birge concludes with this infuriating line:

Lastly, I watched the first two episodes. Mostly, I just thought the show sucked.

Mr. Birge, you are the Chief Marketing Officer of a major company and this is how you issue a formal apology when your company royally screws up?  Is this what you consider professional behavior?  Your company’s choices, which we see as the endorsement of anti-Muslim and anti-Arab bigotry, have seriously offended and hurt American Muslims and Arab-Americans.  And this is how you end your “apology”?  If I were in charge of you, sir, I would fire you, because you lack common sense.

Do you think it is wise for you to end your non-apology with your personal opinion that the show–the first reality show about American Muslims (the same group your company sided against along with anti-Muslim bigots)–sucks?  The truth is that you are only so flippant about this matter because the demographic you have insulted is currently the lowest on the social totem pole.  I doubt you’d be so callous about this topic if you had been accused of siding with anti-black racists or Anti-Semites.  You’d be grovelling to keep your job in that case.

More importantly, since when has your company pursued a policy of only advertising on shows that you, Robert Birge, specifically enjoy?

Kayak will hide behind the claim that they pulled their ads because of the “controversy” surrounding All-American Muslim, even though this “controversy” was all manufactured by anti-Muslim bigots.  There is absolutely no evidence that TLC or the show seeks to be controversial.  In fact, they depict the very mundane lives of regular American Muslims to show that they are not all that different from you and I.

The only “controversy” is that created by anti-Muslim bigots.  So by citing this as their reason to pull out, Kayak has sided with them.

As for me, I’m not going to give one cent to Kayak ever in the future and I encourage you all to do the same.  Not until they issue a real apology.  If they wanted to show sincere contrition (instead of an insincere non-apology), Kayak would back it up with action and renew their ad contract with the show.

Admit this much, Mr. Birge: if this controversy had been about a show called Black America or All-American Jews, can you honestly say that you wouldn’t be falling all over yourselves renewing your ad contract with the show?  But because it’s Muslims–the most discriminated segment of society right now–you could care less.

I doubt Kayak will do the right thing, but I can guarantee you this much: in one generation or two, American students will study about this time–just as today’s students study bigotry towards Japanese-Americans during World War II or racism against blacks in the 1950′s–and look back at amazement and utter disgust at those who sided with the forces of hatred.

Shame on you, Robert Birge.  And shame on you, Kayak.

Note to readers: I would recommend sending a strong but courteous email of disapproval to Kayak, which can be done here.  If anyone can find Robert Birge’s email address, please post it and I will update the article with that information.  Also, make sure to hyperlink to this article in your email.  I would also appreciate your help in spreading this article by linking it on your Facebook walls, so that we can let it be known to the world: Kayak, you suck.

Danios was the Brass Crescent Award Honorary Mention for Best Writer in 2010 and the Brass Crescent Award Winner for Best Writer in 2011.

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , on December 13, 2011 by loonwatch

As most of you know already, Lowes pulled its advertisement from TLC’s All-American Muslim after being pressured to do so by Islamophobes.  It seems that many other companies have also succumbed to this anti-Muslim bigotry, threatening the very existence of the show.

Enter music legend and hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, who tweeted:

Just purchased remaining spots for #allamericanmuslim for next week. The show is now sold out! keep your money @lowes and we will keep ours.

Simmons bought the remaining ad space for next week’s episode of the show.  The Huffington Post reports:

After Lowes created some open ad time, Russell Simmons filled it in a high profile way.

The music legend and entrepreneur tweeted on Monday that he bought all the remaining ad space on “All-American Muslim,” the TLC reality show that has been at the center of a recent media buy controversy.

“Just purchased remaining spots for #allamericanmuslim for next week,” he wrote. “The show is now sold out! keep your money @lowes and we will keep ours.”

Corporations such as Lowe’s have pulled their ads from the show, under pressure from conservative protests led by the Florida Family Association. Simmons has called for a boycott of Lowe’s, pushing a petition via Twitter.

Simmons later said that corporations want their longterm ad space, making it difficult for him to purchase all that he wanted. In the space, he’ll push his Visa Rush Card.

This isn’t the first time Simmons has put his substantial wealth towards public activist causes; in November, he offered to pay for the cleanup of Zuccotti Park, in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

It also isn’t the first time that Russell Simmons has stood up against Islamophobia.  In fact, he stood in solidarity with Muslims during the whole “Ground Zero Mosque” nonsense.  At that time, Simmons had courageously said:

America is using the mosque and Ground Zero as a mask for its own Islamoph[ob]ia

Mr. Simmons, LoonWatch is the most well-known anti-Islamophobia website on the internet, and we commend you!

Sign This Petition: Say No to Bigotry and Lowes and Support ‘All-American Muslim’

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , on December 11, 2011 by loonwatch

(cross-posted from Patheos)

The following is a guest post for Sami H. Elmansoury.

As one proud American, I have frankly reached my pinnacle in the near-tacit acceptance of the rising tide of fear-mongering by un-American groups that are once again washing in the most heinous types of bigotry across our great nation. My now aging American grandfather proudly came to the United States in the late 1960s at the heels of war to seek liberty and freedom — things that he deeply cherishes until today. But his occupational purpose in being brought here was to help ensure that the United States beat the Soviet Union in the Space Race, by rocketing Neil Armstrong to the moon, as a brilliant engineer with NASA’s Apollo 11 mission. He was a patriot then, and he is a patriot now. And his love for country throughout the years has consistently fueled my own.

So as I learned of the success this past week of these fear-mongering groups in coercing our American companies [like Lowes] into taking bigoted stands [by withdrawing advertising from TLC’s “All-American Muslim], I helped to create this petition in order to say “enough is enough” and to bring back some sanity to our national conversation.  And what a remarkable day yesterday became. In just hours, we collected nearly 3,000 signatures — which will continue into next week — from Americans of ALL walks of life.

We have gained the stellar support of Congresspersons and Air Force personnel; we have had unsolicited outreach from conscientious leaders and citizens across our country, we have further isolated the bigots, and we have seen media presence from well-known activists such as Russell Simmons, who has pledged that his support and that of other influential figures will only increase in the coming days. We have even seen an apology – albeit one that lacked any reversal of the bigotry – from the Lowe’s corporate office.

As the petition states, “It is these same critics who have often touted the question: ‘Where are the mainstream Muslims?’” So when a television station seeks to portrays just that, one would think that these critics would have celebrated the effort, rather than have condemned it. Yet their reactions left no more proof necessary of their actual, bigoted, money-driven, and self-interested intentions as the most dangerous thing for many who oppose this show out of personal bigotry or out of egregious self-interest is to see a far-reaching portrayal of the reality and truth of average American Muslims: That they are human, are prone to normalcy, cherish liberty, and are working for the best interests of their respective communities. And that “danger” is the reasonable human being’s victory.

So if there was ever a moment to say “enough” to those who continuously question how “American” you, I, or your neighbor are – I believe that this can be it. Now is the time to throw un-American, hate-mongering bigotry back into the hole from which it disturbingly emerges every few decades. We are all in this together as Americans — whether we are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Atheist – whomever we are, and whatever belief system we espouse. And, while we must strive to protect the homeland, together, we are one country. Personally, I will continue to work throughout my life  to see that we remain that way.

This petition and the surrounding activism are only the beginning of an end, God willing, to this continuing absurdity. The next step will be upon our leaders, upon our politicians, upon our media, and upon all of us who continue to seek peaceful coexistence and American unity, to take back the microphone — and to put the bigots on notice.

For the outpouring of support seen yesterday, and for every day that I have lived on this Earth, I say God bless the only homeland that I have known — and God protect its freedoms and its values, for both our children, and for theirs.

To learn more about the petition protesting the advertising boycott against “All-American Muslim,” click here. To sign the petition, click here. [link fixed]

Sami H. Elmansoury serves Immigrant Rights Task Force for the Office of the Borough President of Manhattan and as an invited member of the Generation Change initiative for the United States Department of State.

Lowe’s Pulls Ad from “All American Muslim” Due to Pressure From Islamophobes

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 10, 2011 by loonwatch

It is interesting to note the strange things Islamophobes take umbrage at. For instance think about the google doodle they thought hid the ulterior motives of Islamic stealth jihad, don’t you see the crescent hiding under the US flag:

or who can forget the crusade launched by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer against Campbell’s Soup:

or casting Ms.USA Rima Fakih as Hezbollah’s secret Muslamic ray-gun weapon who would secretly spell the doom of the West:

then recently there were the calls to boycott Butterball Turkey for being certified as halal, according to Islamophobes the halal certification was evidence of the Islamization of America!

There are other instances of such stupidity, (just check out our archives) but one has reared its ugly head anew and this one can’t be so easily laughed off. Far right Christians and anti-Muslim bigots hate a new show on TLC called All American Muslim. According to them it humanizes Muslims, and we can’t have that! Robert Spencer for instance wanted to see a “terrorist Muslim family” included.

The hate brigade has been campaigning advertisers to withdraw their ads from the program. Now one company, Lowe’s has supposedly taken the bait (hat tip: H.). According to the campaigners, the “show riskily hides the Islamic agenda’s clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values” and they are claiming success:

Supporters’ emails to advertisers make a difference.Florida Family Association sent out a third email alert on December 6th which reported The Learning Channel’s new program called All-American Muslim.  All-American Muslim is propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda’s clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values.  The email alert encouraged supporters to send emails to the companies (including Lowes) that advertised during the December 4th and 5th episodes.   

Lowes sent the following email to Florida Family Association stating that All-American Muslim “does not meet Lowe’s advertising guidelines.”  If you have not sent your email to All-American Muslim advertisers click here.

—– Original Message —– 
From:
 Andrew
To:
 davidcaton@floridafamily.org 
Sent:
 Tuesday, December 06, 2011 12:57 PM 
Subject:
 RE: Lowe’s Home Centers, Inc. advertised during All-American Muslim

Hello David,

Thank you for contacting Lowe’s.  We work hard to listen to our customers and respond to their concerns.  Lowe’s has strict guidelines that govern the placement of our advertising. Our company advertises primarily in national, network prime-time television programs and on a variety of cable outlets.  Lowe’s constantly reviews advertising buys to make certain they are consistent with its policy guidelines.

While we continue to advertise on various cable networks, including TLC, there are certain programs that do not meet Lowe’s advertising guidelines, including the show you brought to our attention.  Lowe’s will no longer be advertising on that program.

Our goal is to provide the best service, products and shopping environment in the home improvement industry.  We appreciate your feedback and will share your comments with our advertising department as they evaluate future advertising opportunities.

If I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to call 1-866-900-4650, or email execustservice@lowes.com.  You may also contact us by mailing your correspondence to Lowe’s Companies, Mail Code CON8, 1605 Curtis Bridge Rd., Wilkesboro, North Carolina 28697.

Thank you,

Andrew
Lowe’s Executive Support

Update (h/t JD):

Here is a list of companies that they claim to have succeeded in convincing to cancel their advertising based on this bigoted, hateful, anti-Muslim reasoning:

3M (Command, Scotchbrand tape),
Airborne Vitamin,
Amway,
Anheuser Busch Inbev (Select55),
Art Instruction Schools,
Bamboozles,
Bank of America (Cash Rewards),
Bare Escentuals,
Brother International (Ptouch),
Campbell’s Soup,
Capital One,
Church & Dwight (Oxi Clean, Arm & Hammer),
City Furniture,
Conagra (Hunt’s Diced Tomatoes),
Corinthian Colleges (Everst411),
Cotton, Inc.,
Cumberland Packing (Sweet’N Low),
Dell computers,
Diamond Foods (Kettlebrand Chips),
Estee Lauder (Clinique),
ET Browe (Palmer’s Cocoa butter),
Gap,
General Motors (Chevy Runs Deep),
Good Year,
Green Mountain Coffee,
Guthy Renker (Proactiv),
Hershey kisses,
Home Depot,
Honda North America,
HTC Phones,
Ikea,
JC Penney,
JP Morgan Chase (Chase Sapphire),
Kayak.com, Kellogg (Special K),
Koa Brands (John Frieda),
Leapfrog Enterprise (Leapster Explorer),
Lowe’s
Mars (Dove Chocolate),
McDonald’s,
Nationwide Insurance,
News Corp (We bought a zoo movie),
Nintendo (Mariokartz.com),
Novartis (Theraflu),
Old Navy,
Pernod Ricard (Kahlua),
Petsmart,
Pier One,
Pfizer (Centrum vitamin),
Procter & Gamble (Align Probiotic, Crest, Febreze, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, Pur, Tide),
Progressive Insurance,
Prudential Financial,
Radio Shack,
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse,
SC Johnson (Drano, Glade, Scrubbing Bubbles),
Sears ,
Signet (Kay Jewelers),
Sonic Drive-ins,
Subaru, T
HQ (uDraw),
T-Mobil,
Toyota (Camry),
Volkswagen,
Vtech (Mobi Go, V Reader),
Wal-Mart
Whirlpool (Maytag)

Did this program not meet Lowe’s advertising guidelines because it showed a Muslim policeman who self-identifies as an American? Was it because Muslims and Arabs were not portrayed as evil villains who are not “real Americans” and have no right to act as if they are normal human beings with families, mortgages, jobs, etc. From here it looks like the MuslimPhobes are winning the undermine anything Islamic and Muslim as evil PR war.

Reality Show, Asks Why “All-American Muslim” Doesn’t Include Terrorist Family

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 17, 2011 by loonwatch

Before I begin, I must disclose my general disdain for reality television.  I think this phenomenon is part of a generalized “dumbing down” of America.  I’ll even go so far as to say that I lose a bit of respect for those who watch Jersey ShoreKeeping Up With the Kardashians, etc.

But, when I heard about TLC’s All-American Muslim, I was naturally intrigued.  It was a clear violation of the rule that Muslims can only be portrayed in American media as terrorist villains or, occasionally, as the token Muslim helping “the good guys” against the Evil Muslim Terrorists.  The idea of depicting what real Muslims are like–instead of the caricature in the media–is something I support.

Indeed, there is probably nothing more important in the battle against Islamophobia than humanizing Muslims and making them relatable, which this television show just might do (or at least help in doing so).  Katie Couric argued that a “Muslim Cosby Show” would be a great idea: just as it helped many white Americans see that black Americans weren’t all that different from them, so too could a show about American Muslim families help other Americans realize that they aren’t all that different from each other.

JihadWatch’s Robert Spencer and other Islamophobes absolutely hate that idea.  That’s why Spencer grumbled that “[t]he point of the show is to depict Muslims as ordinary folks just like you and me who are subjected to unjust suspicion.”

How DARE the show depict Muslims as ordinary folks!  Doesn’t TLC know that Muslims are not ordinary at all, that they eat infidel babies for breakfast, shoot jihad laser beams from their eyes, and fart 100% pure radioactive Sharia?

Spencer bellowed:

TLC’s much-ballyhooed All-American Muslim reality show makes its agenda clear in its opening sequences: shots of a hijabbed girl roller-skating, Muslims dancing at a wedding, an American flag waving proudly in the breeze, and newspaper clippings proclaiming “4 in 10 Americans ‘suspicious’ of Muslims,” “Outrage at Ground Zero ‘Mosque,’” and “Muslims Brace for Backlash.” The point of the show is to depict Muslims as ordinary folks just like you and me who are subjected to unjust suspicion.

And so we meet one zaftig girl who loves to have fun and go to clubs, and who is in the process of getting married. Another young woman, provocatively dressed by Muslim standards, is trying to open up a club of her own. A young hijab-wearing wife shares the joy of her pregnancy with her loving husband. They’re balancing the demands of faith and family with life’s daily pressures, just like most Americans. So why—the show implies—are non-Muslim Americans so mean to them?

Yet it is noteworthy that both the woman who is getting married and the one who is trying to open a club acknowledge that they are not all that religious. And that is the problem at the heart of All-American Muslim. The Muslims it depicts are for the most part undoubtedly harmless, completely uninterested in jihad and Islamic supremacism…

But Americans aren’t suspicious of Muslims who are trying to get married, open clubs, and play football. Americans are suspicious of Muslims who are trying to blow up American buildings, subvert American freedoms, and assert the primacy of Islamic law over American law.

Robert Spencer is upset that All-American Muslim didn’t portray a family of terrorist Muslims–perhaps they could have named them the Al-Kablams.  Here is where Spencer lives in his Islamophobe fantasy: he imagines that American Muslim families are “jihadis” and Islamic supremacists who want to “blow up American buildings, subvert American freedoms, and assert the primacy of Islamic law over American law.”

If Jersey Shore were really about Italian-Americans (as some incorrectly thought it was), do you think it would be justified to demand that the show include a mafioso family in it?  Does a reality show about Catholic families in America need to include a family led by a child-molesting priest? Would a reality television show about Mexican-American families be “misleading” if it didn’t include at least one family of illegals?  Would a show about Russian or Chinese-Americans be incomplete if it didn’t include at least one family of radical communists?  Is a show about black Americans incomplete if it doesn’t include a family of ex-cons?

What utter nonsense.

This would be like arguing that the Cosby Show was misleading white America, since it showed “harmless blacks,” and not the ones “who are trying to rob, rape, and kill whites,” which was a prevailing stereotype of the time.  The entire purpose of the Cosby Show–and now All-American Muslim–is to counter stereotypes.  So why on earth would All-American Muslim include a terrorist family?  Why does anyone take Robert Spencer’s nonsense seriously?

The fact that All-American Muslim chose to include characters who were not very religious had Robert Spencer in quite the tizzy.  Interesting, some American Muslim viewers were also taken aback by this.  However, AltMuslim.com’s Tuqa Nusairat gave an appropriate response to this criticism, saying:

Let’s stop assuming that Muslims do not drink, have tattoos, or own clubs. If you were somehow shocked by the scenes on this episode, it simply indicates your lack of intermingling with a representative sample of American Muslims.

Only a very small percentage of American Muslims are observant.  (The exact percentage is hotly debated, but there is no question that they are in the minority.)  And only a fraction of those who are religious wear the headscarf (hijab).  Therefore, one could even say that the observant Muslim population is over-represented in All-American Muslim.

This is another reason, among the many, that Islamophobic fear-mongers are wildly off the mark when they portray the American Muslim population as a threat to American democracy.  If only a fraction of Muslim women even wear the headscarf in America, what percentage of American Muslims do you think want to overthrow American democracy to replace it with Taliban-style Sharia?  (Answer: 0.000000001%)

This is not to buy into Robert Spencer’s false dichotomy between Good, Nominal Muslims on the one hand, and Bad, Observant Muslims on the other.  Spencer writes:

[T]here are people who are very knowledgeable about its doctrines and serious about putting them into practice, and others who don’t know and don’t care about what their religion teaches but still identify themselves as members of it, and every gradation in between. It would never happen for obvious reasons, but All-American Muslim would be much more interesting if it tracked 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 to demonize and marginalize those who resist that activity.

He assumes that religious observance would necessitate participation in terrorism and Islamic supremacism.  In fact, as I noted above, many of the actors are observant: they reconcile their faith with modernity–and set themselves to being productive citizens; there is no contradiction for them, and millions of others, between being religious and being a good citizen.  In fact, they see the two things going hand-in-hand.  And Robert Spencer et al. absolutely hate that.

*  *  *  *  *

Elsewhere in the same diatribe, Robert Spencer says:

All-American Muslim addresses nothing of that supremacist ideology, although at times it makes an appearance despite the producers’ best efforts. The woman who is getting married is marrying a Roman Catholic, who converts to Islam in order to marry her. Her father insists on the conversion as a condition of the wedding, and at one point we are told in passing that while a Muslim man may marry a non-Muslim woman, a Muslim woman is not free to marry a non-Muslim man.

There are two issues here: (1) an alleged double standard between Muslim men and women with regard to marrying non-Muslims, and (2) a supposed supremacist attitude that demands that Muslims can only marry fellow Muslims.

Despite the fact that it wasn’t discussed in the first episode of the show (perhaps it will be in future episodes), there exists an alternative opinion with regard to Muslim women marrying non-Muslims, a view grounded in the Quran no less.  This dissenting, reformist opinion is expressed by the Islamic intellectual Khaled Abou El Fadl, who allows Muslim men and women to marry non-Muslims.

The traditional opinion uses verse 2:221 of the Quran to completely prohibit Muslim women from marrying non-Muslims (see, for instance, this ultra-conservative Islamic website):

And do not give your women in marriage to idolaters until they believe: a believing slave is certainly better than an idolater, even though he may please you.   Such people call you to the Fire, while God calls you to the Garden and forgiveness by His leave.

Yet, the first half of the verse, addressed to the men, is conveniently left out (in bold):

Do not marry idolatresses until they believe: a believing slave woman is certainly better than an idolatress, even though she may please you. And do not give your women in marriage to idolaters until they believe: a believing slave is certainly better than an idolater, even though he may please you. Such people call you to the Fire, while God calls you to the Garden and forgiveness by His leave.

It’s the exact same restriction upon Muslim men.  The Quran says in another verse (5:5):

Today all good things have been made lawful for you. The food of the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) is lawful for you as your food is lawful for them. So are chaste, believing, women as well as chaste women of the people who were given the Scripture before you (Jews and Christians), as long as you have given them their bride-gifts and married them, not taking them as lovers or secret mistresses.

Clearly, the first verse (2:221) prohibits marriage to idolaters only, not to all non-Muslims.  In fact, throughout the Quran, the “People of the Book” (which includes Jews and Christians) are referred to separately from “idolaters,” an indication that these two groups are not simply interchangeable.

The reformist argument goes: since the exact same word is used for women–in the very same verse, no less–it seems that the Quran is only prohibiting Muslim women from marrying idolaters, not all non-Muslims–it is certainly not referring to Jews and Christians (such as Jeff).  Based on this understanding, Muslims are allowed to marry Muslims or non-Muslims, so long as they are chaste.

There are much wider implications to this discussion, including the way different ideological groups within the Islamic community…

1) …choose to emphasize or de-emphasize traditional views.

2) …choose to emphasize or de-emphasize “ijma.”

3) …view the religious texts: do they view the Quran with “fresh eyes” or do they only read the Quran “through” ancient commentaries?  Also, is it really true that the stricter, more conservative views are “more authentic” and are more closely grounded in Quranic evidence?

4) …view non-Muslims: are they all idolaters?  Or can non-Muslims enter Paradise?

5) …view women and patriarchy.

These and other issues I plan on discussing in greater detail in the future.  They are very important to understand if one truly wants to understand the American Muslim community and Islam in general.  This understanding and depth of knowledge is needed to tackle Islamophobia as well, and it is critical in order to counter the myths spread by Robert Spencer and co.

*  *  *  *  *

Robert Spencer then says:

Left unanswered in the show is the question of what might have happened if the couple had decided to get married in the Roman Catholic Church, or to leave Islam at some later date. No doubt this non-observant woman’s Muslim relatives would have been less solicitous in that event.

So too are many devout Catholic parents “less solicitous” when their children wish to marry outside the faith.  In fact, the Catholic Church blocks all marriages to non-Christians, calling it a “disparity of cult.”  One must seek a special exemption from a bishop to conduct such a marriage; the bishop’s job is to try to get the non-Christian partner to agree that the children will be raised Catholic.  Is this then a reflection of the supremacist attitude of Catholicism?

How would Robert Spencer himself react if his son or daughter wanted to marry a Muslim?  We all know how “solicitous” he’d be feeling.

Certainly, many Protestant Christian groups, especially Evangelicals, insist on only dating and marrying fellow believers.  Many outright forbid marriage outside the faith, citing the Biblical verse 2 Corinthians 6:14:

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

Two of the three major branches of Judaism (Orthodox and Conservative) similarly forbid Jews from marrying non-Jews.

But, remember, when Muslims say that they should only marry fellow believers, that’s a proof of inherent Islamic supremacism!

The lady–in this case, Robert Spencer–doth protest too much, methinks.

Also, it should be pointed out that there is no indication that Shadia is fearful for her life should she choose to marry a non-Muslim.  A reasonable assumption is that her father would be upset with her, stop speaking to her for some time, and/or not attend the wedding.  Only in Spencer’s mind would it be reasonable to assume that he is going to “honor kill” her.  Considering that the total number of Muslim honor killings in the United States can be counted on the hand, why should the show depict that as representative of the millions of American Muslim families?

In fact, Shadia’s father already knows that his daughter is dating Jeff; she even kisses Jeff in front of him.  Shadia’s father also knows that she has tattoos and drinks alcohol, among other “un-Islamic” things.  He hasn’t killed her yet.  In fact, he is loving towards her.

Even though the father’s demand–that Jeff convert to Islam if he wants to marry Shadia–is completely unreasonable, it should be noted that really the father is asking for Jeff to make a token, fake conversion–one that he probably knows is not considered valid in Islam.  Contrary to what was depicted on the show, conversion to Islam does not require just saying a simple sentence and presto!  Rather, Islam stresses that conversion starts in the heart; without conviction, the conversion meant nothing.

Similarly, Robert Spencer whines elsewhere:

There are many women in the show who are wearing hijabs and many who are not, but we are not allowed to see what might happen if one of the hijab-wearing women decides to take it off.  Such conflicts would not serve The Learning Channel’s agenda.

Here again he assumes that the women on the show are forced to wear hijab by their families.  This shows Spencer’s unfamiliarity with American Muslim community.  One can bet that there are other women in the same family who don’t don the hijab–and nothing happens to them.  In fact, it has been a phenomenon that younger American Muslim women don the hijab of their own accord, often against their parent’s wishes.  In any case, there is no reason at all to assume that anything at all would happen to them if they chose to take it off.  Such considerations would not serve JihadWatch’s agenda.

*  *  *  *  *

Robert Spencer concludes with a sentence that makes clear his views endorsing collective guilt and punishment:

[A]ll that All-American Muslim gives us is a denunciation of “Islamophobia” featuring Muslims who could never have conceivably inspired any suspicion of Islam in the first place.

Spencer seems to be of the opinion that Radical Muslims are the ones to blame, not Islamophobia, for the suspicion the Muslims in All-American Muslim must deal with.  Can you imagine how quickly a person would be dubbed a racist if they were to say something outlandish like “black criminals, not white racists, are responsible for racism against the black community”?

Insert any race or religion for “Muslims” and Spencer’s bigotry becomes clear.  His beef with All-American Muslim is an argument steeped in Islamophobia, which the show may help to counteract–and that’s why it is only natural that people like Robert Spencer would steadfastly oppose it.  The Islamophobes can’t stomach Americans viewing American Muslims as “ordinary folks just like you and me.”  And that’s reason enough to support the show, at least in my book.

*  *  *  *  *

Addendum I:

Aman Ali, co-creator of 30 Mosques in 30 Days, offered some legitimate criticism of All-American Muslim.  The show failed to show the ethnic diversity within the American Muslim community:  all the Muslims in the show are Arab-Americans.  This reinforces the myth that all Muslims are Arabs, and all Arabs are Muslims.  In fact, “[o]nly about 12 percent of Muslims worldwide are Arabs”, and in the United States only 1 in 4 Muslims is of Arab ethnicity.

All-American Muslim didn’t bother to include any characters from the Asian and black communities, even though these two groups make up a greater percentage of the American Muslim population.  Writes Ali:

Brilliant! What better way to show the mainstream public an insight into how multicultural and intellectually diverse Islam’s followers are… with a show focusing on just Arabs (20 percent of the world’s Muslim population) who follow the Shia sect of Islam (about 10 percent of the world’s Muslim population).

The show, which premiered over the weekend, presents itself as a glimpse into the American Muslim community but ignores an overwhelming majority of the cultures that comprise it. South Asians like my parents, who came from India, make up one of the largest group of Muslim immigrants in the United States.

That doesn’t bother me as much as the fact that the show makes no reference to African-American Muslims, another huge American Muslim group. Many of the black slaves that built the foundation of this country with blood, sweat and tears were Muslim.

And Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Dave Chappelle and Lupe Fiasco are all American Muslims, too. Hell, Detroit is right next to Dearborn. All the producers had to do was turn around and they’d find one of the most active African-American Muslim communities in the country.

AltMuslim.com’s Tuqa Nusairat countered by saying:

The “reality” is that “Jersey Shore” doesn’t represent Italians in NJ, “Sister Wives” doesn’t represent all Mormons, “Kate Plus Eight” doesn’t represent all families of multiples, so why would would we expect this show to represent all American Muslims?

The problem with Nusairat’s retort is that Italians did and do criticize Jersey Shore for not being representative of their community.  They were certainly justified in doing so, even though the show was not called All-American Italians.  Similarly, Mormons did and do criticize Sister Wives, because they feel that it is not representative of their faith community.  (And I’ll be honest: I’ve never heard of Kate Plus Eight so no comment there.)

Jersey Shore was a poor choice for Nusairat to have relied on to make her argument.  However, I agree with her article overall and share her optimistic opinion with regard to the show, which is a refreshing change from the same-old Muslim as Terrorist role that Robert Spencer insists upon.  Since people today don’t like reading, the best way to counter Islamophobia and reach the average Joe is not through the long and intricate articles I write, but through the boob tube.  All-American Muslim is a step in the right direction.