The Learning Channel’s (TLC) television show ‘All American Muslim’ is long overdue and props to them for daring to present a reality show about *gasp* actual, real, live Muslims! To think that this should even be controversial in a democracy which prides itself on being a Light Unto Nations in the area of freedom of religion, democracy and tolerance should give us all pause. But lo and behold, it IS controversial! While there has been some coverage of this bigotry, primarily in less-traditional media like Salon.com, HuffPo, etc., the lack of outrage from the mainstream media (and some interest groups) is notable. The ADL’s Abe Foxman is merely “disappointed” at the negative reaction to the show but feels the need to point out that concerns about radical Islam are understandable. And look at how CNN covers the issue and the NYT covered the issue– as though both sides of the issue are equal in merit. Imagine if the reaction were to a show about, say, Jews or African Americans- do you think that the MSM and political commentariat would be largely ignoring the obvious bigotry? Anti-Semitism is wrong but anti-Arab, anti-Mulsim hatred and bigotry is ok? Lovely. Is that really the legacy of the civil rights movement or of global tragedies such as the Holocaust or the Rwandan Genocide? That hatred and intolerance of minorities or people who are different is only “wrong” when it’s you or me being targeted? Again, lovely.
Of course, this is a country which can’t seem to accept Al Jazeera English as a choice in a cable line up except in only a few discrete geographic locations. This is also a country where the GOP seems to have added a requirement that their candidates for high office, including POTUS, be as bigoted and anti-Muslim as possible. So I guess if that’s beltway conventional wisdom, then the media thinks, “hey, who are we to question it?” So much for the check and balance function of the media.
Here is Abdulrahman El-Sayed on the corporate response (pulling ads) from the show All American Muslim:
While the show hasn’t dealt with many of the heavier questions surrounding Islam in America — like the burning of Mosques or other hate crimes — that wasn’t its purpose. For a show meant to convey the truth about the diversity and honest normalness of the lives of average Muslims in the US, it succeeds brilliantly.
But some can’t believe Muslims could be so normal. The Florida Family Association (FFA), the political arm of an extremist evangelical group, is in denial. In fact, in their eyes, Muslims being normal must be some covert tactic “clearly designed to counter legitimate and present-day concerns about many Muslims who are advancing Islamic fundamentalism and Sharia law.”
That a group of bigoted fanatics has issues with a show meant to portray Muslims in a realistic light isn’t so surprising. But that some of America’s largest corporations, including Lowe’s, Bank of America, Wal-Mart, McDonald’s and General Motors have fallen in line is astounding. On Friday, Lowe’s confirmed that it’s choice to pull its advertising was a result of pressure from the FFA.
Lowe’s may know home improvement–but it seems to have forgotten history.
Our country has had a contentious past with discrimination, to say the least. In the Jim Crow era South, a powerful, landed, wealthy white minority (less than 25% in some states) lorded over their marginalized black counterparts via laws that were meant to exclude blacks from civic life, segregating them from institutions of power and privilege — government, education, and industry.
Post-9/11 discrimination has dominated the Muslim-American experience for the past 10 years. The climate of hatred has been fueled by federal policies that implicitly target Muslims, such as the most recent provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act that would require extrajudicial military imprisonment of terror suspects alleged to have ties with Al Qaeda. And it has been fanned by isolated hate crimes against Muslims across the US.
The discriminatory choices of these corporations only escalate the anti-Muslim fervor.
Such hatred doesn’t deserve our dollars. Access the list of corporations who have chosen ideologues over inclusiveness on the FFA website. Boycott them. Spread the word to your friends and family.
Intolerance can’t be tolerated — “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Please consider writing some of the above-mentioned corporations and letting them know their role in perpetuating bigotry isn’t appreciated.