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Muslim TV series spurs backlash

Ad boycott in question over TLC show

The TLC series “All-American Muslim” is prompting complaints from right-wing extremist groups claiming they’ve successfully pressured advertisers to pull out of the program.

One such organization, Florida Family Association, posted an e-mail on its website that it alleges to have received from national retailer Lowe’s Home Centers indicating that the company has withdrawn commercials. “There are certain programs that do not meet Lowe’s advertising guidelines, including the show you brought to our attention.”

That letter in turn spurred reaction Thursday from Muslim civil-liberties group Council on American-Islamic Relations decrying the withdrawal. “Some ‘All-American Muslim’ advertisers have apparently buckled to the hate-filled views of the boycott’s promoters,” read a CAIR press release.

A spokeswoman for Lowe’s confirmed Friday morning that the e-mail came from her company but she clarified that the decision to withdraw advertising was not “based solely on the complaints or emails of any one particular group. We will pull our advertising on shows if we learn there are issues raised from a broad spectrum of customers and viewers who represent multiple perspectives, which Lowe’s understands was the case in this situation with this particular show.”

A TLC spokeswoman declined comment.

“Muslim” is an unscripted series that premiered last month on the Discovery Networks-owned cable channel following the lives of a group of middle-class American Muslim families in Dearborn, Mich.

FFA, which states its goal as “improving America’s moral environment” in its mission statement, has criticized the series for being “propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda’s clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values.”

CAIR also calls out several other groups that have websites inviting its visitors to fill out forms that send messages lamenting “Muslim” to participating advertisers. These orgs claim to have prompted a number of marketers to pull out of the show, though in some cases messages from those companies posted online don’t suggest they are doing so in response to calls for boycott.

“The program’s detractors are using every stereotype in the book to defame American Muslims and to demonize Islam,” said Nihad Awad, national executive direcor of CAIR in a statement.

Lowe’s also issued its clarification via its Twitter account in response to a surge of tweets from users upset that the company could have pulled out of “Muslim” due to pressure from hate groups. “Dear @lowes you can kiss my business good bye,” tweeted @ArabVoicesSpeak.