Rep. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Tuesday became the latest Democrat to lambaste a recent decision by Lowe's home improvement stores to pull advertising from a reality TV show about American Muslims living in Michigan.
"This is a major American company rubber stamping basic foundational bigotry against a major American religious group," Murphy said of the decision, which was prompted by a complaint from right wing evangelical group the Florida Family Association. "This country was founded on the premise of religious freedom and this body should never remain silent when a group of people is marginalized just because they worship a different God."
In an earlier statement, the Florida Family Association claimed that TLC's "All-American Muslim" was "propaganda" that improperly characterized Muslims because it didn't depict anyone "advancing Islamic fundamentalism and Sharia law." The show follows five Lebanese American Muslim families living in Dearborn, Michigan.
"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 liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish," the complaint read.
Florida Family Association is accustomed to getting involved in contentious dogfights. In the past, the group has crusaded aggressively against gay rights, college curriculums and other TV shows.
Lowe's quickly yielded to the protests despite the group's history, and has since stood by their decision to pull their commercials:
"Lowe's has received a significant amount of communication on this program, from every perspective possible. Individuals and groups have strong political and societal views on this topic, and this program became a lighting [sic] rod for many of those views. As a result we did pull our advertising on this program. We believe it is best to respectfully defer to communities, individuals and groups to discuss and consider such issues of importance."
But that explanation has failed to calm the company's detractors. Ted Lieu, a Democratic state senator from California, has threatened legal action and is considering organizing a boycott of the store.
Democratic congressmen John Conyers of Michigan and Keith Ellison of Minnesota have both called on Lowe's to apologize for the action.
Conyers said he was "disappointed' in the company and suggested that it "strongly repudiate the intolerant messages espoused by anti-Muslim groups."
Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, expressed concern with Lowe's willingness to kowtow to a "fringe hate group," but suggested on Tuesday that the company could rectify the wrong by admitting its mistake.
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