“All American Muslim” Controversy is a Call to Action
The organized American Islamophobes have risen. This time, their demonization of American Muslims is focused on calling for an advertiser boycott of the reality show “All-American Muslim,” which chronicles the lives of a group of Muslims in Dearborn, Michigan.
The show is far from radical. Writes New York Times reviewer Mike Hale:
As it turns out, however, the only thing extreme about “All-American Muslim,” an eight-part series that begins on Sunday, is the lengths to which it goes to portray its subjects — members of the Arab-American community in Dearborn, Mich. — as everyday people. While head scarves and abstemiousness may set some of them apart, in general the medical assistants, secretaries, deputy sheriffs and football coaches the show follows come across as almost freakishly normal.
That’s probably something to be thankful for in our continuing post-9/11 climate of suspicion and fear.
But a reality TV show that lets Americans relate to the lives of Muslims in the United States is an offensive idea to those who want to demonize Islam.
The conservative Florida Family Association (FFA) has been pushing advertisers to drop “All-American Muslim,” and some advertisers have acquiesced. The business receiving the most flack is Lowe’s hardware chain who, this past weekend, said it pulled its advertising because the show “raised concerns.” FFA was thrilled, since the group called the TLC show “propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda’s clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values.”
We here at Standing on the Side of Love headquarters confess we haven’t seen more than a trailer for the show. But whether it’s the quality of Jersey Shore or Masterpiece Theater, it’s a disgrace that advertisers would specifically kowtow to anti-Muslim bigots, when they freely advertise on television fare ranging from the Bachelor to Flavor of Love without a second thought.
Plenty of Americans are up in arms about this travesty. One petition on Signon.org has already garnered 22,000 signatures. The petition urges Lowe’s to reconsider their decision to pull advertising dollars, and it also targets other advertisers, urging them to not cave to anti-Islamic pressure. You can add your name here.
In a move that we describe as fiscally intelligent courageous love, Russell Simmons has attempted to buy up all of the dropped advertiser time. On a positive note, it’s apparently all sold out! It’s wonderful that the bigots haven’t won here. It’s also great to see politicians like California State Sen. Ted Lieu stating they will boycott the stores in their district.
Let’s stay vigilant, sign the petition, and do what we can in our own communities to make sure that our American Muslim neighbors know that they are valued just as much as any other members of our communities.