Karen Ocamb

'Groundswell' Movement Defends Muslims and Gays

Filed By Karen Ocamb | December 14, 2011 9:15 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: 9/11, Florida Family Association, Lowe's, Michigan, Rachel Maddow, TLC

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Muslims and Sikhs, among others, have been the targets of harassment and fear in the post-9/11 world. One effort to overcome that religious bigotry is an eight-week reality show on TLC called "All-American Muslim" that follows five Lebanese families in Dearborn, Michigan. The show premiered on Nov. 13 and on Saturday, Dec. 10 the Tampa-based conservative Christian Florida Family Association succeeded in getting sponsor Lowe to pull their ads, with Lowes saying "All-American Muslim" does not meet Lowe's ad guidelines and "raised concerns."

The Religion News Service reported:

The Florida Family Association, a Tampa Bay group, has led a campaign urging companies to pull ads on "All-American Muslim." The FFA contends that 65 of 67 companies it has targeted have pulled their ads, including Bank of America, the Campbell Soup Co., Dell, Estee Lauder, General Motors, Goodyear, Green Mountain Coffee, McDonalds, Sears, and Wal-Mart.

"'All-American Muslim' is propaganda clearly designed to counter legitimate and present-day concerns about many Muslims who are advancing Islamic fundamentalism and Sharia law," the Florida group asserts in a letter it asks members to send to TLC advertisers.

"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 the liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish," the FFA's letter continues.

It was not clear whether the companies cited by the Florida Family Association, which has also targeted shows like MTV's "Degrassi," stopped advertising on "All-American Muslim" because of pressure or for other reasons...."

On Monday, music mogul Russell Simmons spoke out against and announced on Twitter that he bought the remaining ad time.

Filmmaker and writer Valarie Kaur, director of a new multi-faith group Groundswell, was on the Rachel Maddow show Monday night with guest host Melissa Harris-Perry to discuss the new movement to fight post-9/11 bigotry. In discussing the national tour of her film Divided We Fall about a Sikh family, Kaur said she has met "Americans who are tired of the politics of fear - that we are hungry to see ourselves in one-another in ways we haven't before...I remember a gay man here in New York City who stood up and said, 'Just as I have to fight for the right of gays to come out of the closet, I have to fight for the right for Sikh to wear their turbans.' What I've discovered is that stories can save us."

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(Cross-posted at LGBT POV)


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