Last week Lowe’s announced that it pulled its advertising from TLC’s reality show “All-American Muslim,” caving into pressure after groups such as the Florida Family Association (FFA) launched a campaign against the show. The campaign called the show, which follows the daily lives of five American Muslim families in Dearborn, Mich., “propaganda” in that it profiles Muslims that “appear” to be ordinary, rather than those who they say pose a “clear and present danger” to our liberties and values.
Such a withdrawal of support is yet another instance of the marginalization of the mainstream American Muslims who are disgusted with extremism and terror as their neighbors. California Senator Ted Lieu called this move “un-American” and “naked religious bigotry,” and actress and activist Mia Farrow called for a boycott of Lowe’s. It is clear that this move is an affront on American values of religious freedom, but what commentators have not mentioned is that it makes no business sense.
American Muslims, a vibrant and diverse community with a global outreach, represent a significant and growing market with substantial buying power. An American Muslim market consumer study released by DinarStandard estimates that the 5.8 million to 6.7 million Muslims in America (2010) had an aggregate 2010 disposable income ranging between $107 billion to $124 billion. The study estimates that American Muslims spend $33 billion yearly on housing and housing services – including shopping at places like Walmart, Home Depot and of course Lowe’s.
Why would a business like Lowe’s seek to alienate such a robust and growing market, and does it make any sense for them to yield to the demands of a hate group who consider all Muslims--including the ones with tattoos and high heels--to be extremist? The real danger to our values as Americans does not come from a television show that highlights the religious and ethnic diversity of the American fabric, it comes when we allow those few who provoke fear and hatred – to erode the principle that binds Americans together – “free enterprise,” the hallmark of the American Dream.
Daisy Khan | Dec 13, 2011 9:49 AM