Commentary: Join the Fight Against Islamophobia

Commentary: Join the Fight Against Islamophobia

A new campaign against a Muslim reality show reminds Blacks that Muslims are our brothers, sometimes literally.

Published December 16, 2011

Hardware store chain Lowe’s made headlines this week when it pulled its ads from “All American Muslim,” a new reality show on TLC. The program, set in Dearborn, Michigan, highlights the lives of five Lebanese families as they go about their day-to-day business. The families aren’t radical or anti-American; they’re just normal Muslims. No big deal, right? Apparently, to some conservatives, it was a big deal.


David Caton, executive director of the Florida Family Association (FFA), said it was un-American for Lowe’s to advertise with a Muslim program. In an email to its members, the FFA wrote, “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.”


“Appear to be ordinary folks” is outright hatespeech — they’re not appearing to be ordinary, they are ordinary — but this anti-Muslim attack isn’t just bigoted toward brown people from the Middle East; if you look at Islam in the United States, it’s also aimed at Black people as well.


Within America’s Muslim population, 30 percent of the faithful are African-American. About a fifth of those people are converts, but the rest were raised in the faith. That means that today America is home to more than one million Black Muslims, the vast majority of whom, like the vast majority of Arab Muslims, are not radical terrorists.


The hatred being leveled against Muslims is insane, of course, but what makes it especially heinous is how infrequently people come to Muslims’ defense. Islam in America is still a very small religion, which makes Muslims easy targets. Let’s not forget that it’s important to stand up for Muslims when they’re attacked, especially considering that an attack on the Muslim community is, in many ways, also an attack on the Black community.


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 (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Written by Cord Jefferson


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