Backlash for Lowe's as ads pulled from Muslim show

Reply Tue 13 Dec, 2011 10:46 am
It is a shame that a large group of stupid people prevented helping to demonstrate that 99 percent of Muslims are are good people. I hope thoughtful businesses will replace Lowe's ads. BBB

FILM: https://www.google.com/#q=all-american+muslim+show&hl=en&prmd=imvnsu&source=univ&tbm=nws&tbo=u&sa=X&ei=fYHnTrWyFcSdiAKJ4qydBw&ved=0CDkQqAI&fp=1&biw=800&bih=436&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&cad=b

Lowe's stands by decision to pull ads
Backlash for Lowe's as ads pulled from Muslim show
Business Update

Lowe's said Monday it would stick by its decision to yank ads from a reality TV show about American Muslims, but apologized if its actions raised questions about the company's commitment to diversity.

"We have a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, and we are proud of that longstanding commitment. If we have made anyone question that commitment, we apologize," Lowe's spokeswoman Julie Yenichek said in a statement emailed to the Observer.

Opposition to the Mooresville-based company's move mounted Monday around the country. A Charlotte Muslim leader also said the decision by the Mooresville-based company reflects poorly on the Charlotte area.

Lowe's pulled the ads from TLC's "All-American Muslim" after the show became a "lightning rod for people to voice complaints from a variety of perspectives - political, social and otherwise." Lowe's says "dozens" of other advertisers also pulled their advertising.

Jibril Hough, a spokesman for the Islamic Center of Charlotte, said he was disappointed in Lowe's decision.

"I believe in the free market. They have a right not to advertise on a show that has Muslims on it," said Hough. "But people have a right not to do business with Lowe's if they make a decision based on bigotry."

Hough added that the move comes at a particularly poor time, as the city starts gearing up for the Democratic National Convention next year.

On Twitter, actor Kal Penn is directing people to a petition on signon.org in support of "All-American Muslim." By Monday afternoon, there were about 9,200 signatures.

Democratic state Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Detroit, the first Muslim elected to the Michigan Legislature, wrote Lowe's CEO Robert Niblock.

"I told them I was extremely disappointed that you give credibility to these hate groups," Tlaib said.

"All-American Muslim" premiered last month and chronicles the lives of five families who live in and near Dearborn, Mich., a Detroit suburb with a large Muslim and Arab-American population.

TLC spokeswoman Laurie Goldberg said "All-American Muslim," which ends its first season on Jan. 8, has a little over a million viewers per week.

Fla. group prompted move

Lowe's stopped running ads during "All-American Muslim" after a conservative group known as the Florida Family Association e-mailed advertisers to ask them to stop advertising on the show.

The group said the program was "propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda's clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values."

Florida Family Association, based in Tampa, Fla., claims that more than 60 advertisers that it e-mailed, from Amazon to McDonald's, have also stopped advertising on the show. But so far Lowe's is the only major company to confirm they pulled their ads.

Amazon, McDonald's and other advertisers did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Meanwhile, Atlanta-based Home Depot, which was cited by Florida Family Association as an advertiser who stopped advertising, said Monday they never intended to run any ads during the show, but one commercial ran "inadvertently and without our knowledge," according to spokesman Stephen Holmes.

The controversy highlights the fine line companies walk when they select shows on which to advertise.

Branding expert Laura Ries said Lowe's made two mistakes. The first was advertising during a show that could be construed as controversial. The second was pulling advertising too quickly.

"For a big national brand like Lowe's, they've always got to be incredibly careful when advertising during any show that could be deemed controversial," she said. "Will it seriously damage the brand in the long term? Probably not. But it is a serious punch in the stomach."

Analysts agreed long-term damage to Lowe's is unlikely.

"For a company that generates $50 billion in annual revenue, I don't view this as something that will have a meaningful impact," said Morningstar analyst Peter Wahlstrom.

The Associated Press and Observer staff writer Ely Portillo contributed.
Corey Williams in Detroit, Rachel Zoll in New York and Mitch Stacy in Tampa, Fla., contributed to this report.
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Reply Tue 13 Dec, 2011 11:05 am
Another example in Texas, why am I not surprised? BBB

TCC professor's lecture on Islam stirs controversy
Dec. 12, 2011
By Diane Smith - Star Telegram

FORT WORTH -- The evening of Nov. 8 is being described as infamous by some students in Paul Derengowski's Great Religions of the World class at Tarrant County College's Southeast Campus.

That's when the second of the professor's two lectures on Islam ended in a headline-grabbing controversy. Two Muslim students questioned Derengowski's source material and objectivity. The students later aired their concerns to the college administration -- a move that resulted in Derengowski's Nov. 15 resignation and prompted other students to file grievances that question the college's handling of the situation.

Derengowski says the college took the politically correct route by focusing on his lesson rather than disciplining the students, who he said berated him and disrupted his class.

"My recommendation was expulsion," he said, explaining that the only way he would return to TCC is if the college apologizes, expels the students with failing grades and allows him to resume his lessons without stipulations that he be neutral.

The Muslim students believed that Derengowski, who on his website lists Islam as a cult, was disparaging their religion. Randa Bedair, one of the students involved, told the Star-Telegram that she was trying to stay out of the limelight and declined to comment. The male student could not be reached for comment.

The case is an example for some in the Muslim community of how religious history or philosophy classes need to be handled through a neutral and impartial lens. When a professor's objectivity is questioned, it detracts from the lesson, they said.

"In terms of religion, we need to be religious neutral in terms of giving edicts about what you think religion is," said Mustafaa Carroll, executive of CAIR Texas, an affiliate of the Council on American Islamic Relations.

The Derengowski case is pending an investigation, said Frank Griffis, TCC spokesman. He said TCC won't provide information while college officials are looking into it.

Derengowski's course objectives state that after completing the class students will be able to explain and discuss major tenets of major world religions, provide firsthand understanding of two religions not tied to the student's current orientation, and "think critically about the truth, and the truth claims made by some of the major religions around the world, as well as some of the religious aberrations."

Derengowski has been teaching at TCC's southeast campus for about three and half years. His biggest course was Great World Religions, but he has also taught Bible History I and II and Introduction to Philosophy.

For several years, he has also operated a website called CAPRO.info, which is part of his Christian Apologetics Project.

His website includes his interpretation of history and his evaluation of various religious doctrines, including Islam, which he has listed as a cult along with Jehovah's Witnesses, Scientology, Freemasonry and Mormonism. He describes cults as counterfeit religions with dictatorial leaders and aberrant views on sex. He cites the examples of cults using sex to manipulate and says examples can be found "in nearly every other cult which are sometimes seen as respectable, conservative, or peaceful religious institutions, whether it be Islam, Mormonism, or Roman Catholicism."

He said his website is a project of more than 20 years that doesn't conflict with his ability to teach his class.

Derengowski said he lays everything about his work and faith on the table, but doesn't tell his students to follow his personal beliefs.

But critics said listing Islam as a cult can be interpreted as belittling the religion. "For some reason people feel they have a license to make disparaging remarks about Muslims," Carroll said.

During the recent class controversy, Derengowski also found himself having to explain images of the World Trade Center towers in flames on 9-11 and a young boy with a gun that are on the Islam section of his website.

"It's history," he said.

The Nov. 8 classroom controversy erupted when Derengowski began explaining his source material for events about a Muslim raid during the prophet Muhammad's era. The Muslim students -- Bedair and a male student -- wanted to know the source material. Derengowski said his references included the Quran and a book about the life of Muhammad. That discussion ended with the two students apparently leaving and with the remaining students discussing how fearful they were about the developments.

Pamela Thomas, a student in the class, said she felt threatened during the incident. She filed a complaint against TCC because of the college's "lack of handling" of the situation.

"They haven't talked to anybody," Thomas said.

Another student, Ginger Hart, also filed a complaint, citing similar issues as Thomas.

"TCC approved the syllabus, so why is it an issue when we get to Islam?" Hart said. "TCC didn't want to deal with a Muslim outcry."

The class also resulted in Derengowski's filing a campus police report. Derengowski said he was upset about an e-mail circulated that depicts him as a bigot. A few days later, Derengowski met with campus administrative leaders about the issue. He said the meeting revolved around his teaching and his website. He said his syllabus was "nixed" by the administration as they stressed a need for neutrality.

Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/12/12/3589958/tcc-professors-lecture-on-islam.html#ixzz1gR1qPFjX
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