Some commentators have referred to TLC's new reality show All-American Muslim as a parallel to the Cosby Show. The implication is that All-American Muslim offers Muslims the same opportunity the Cosby Show offered blacks: to show them in the mainstream, outside the stereotypes.
Perhaps that worked for the Cosby Show, but All-American Muslim, halfway through its premiere season, may not have as successful a ride, given the situation with Lowe's pulling their advertising from the show. See current MuslimMatters updates on the situation.
There are days when I, as a born-and-raised American, don't recognize traditional American morality in the social landscape of the 21st century. I grew up in an era of protest and cynicism. In the kitchen of my childhood home hung one of those “War is not healthy for children and other living things” posters. I went to the local Unitarian Sunday school, where I was taught about the religions of the world. We had a Christmas tree and a Chanukah menorah.
That I now ascribe to a faith practice so vilified it can wield power over businesses stuns me. When as a child I made up my own prayers to a God I knew existed, it never occurred to me that when I found a way to worship Him I would be in a group so scorned.
Growing up as an American, I never thought I would hear words spoken about my religion like the ones the Florida Family Association used in their complaint to Lowe's and other advertisers:
All-American Muslim is propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda's clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values.
“Clear and present danger”: I imagine that this language was very specifically chosen, as it is the phrase from Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes' decision in Schenck vs. US that has become a catch phrase for speech that is not protected by the first amendment. Muslims, shut up.
What the FFA says, and how Lowe's has responded, is unacceptable. Shouldn't the days be behind us when bigotry towards religious groups was legal?
American liberties and traditional values are not upheld by closed minds. American liberties are supported only when all Americans are at the table.
Lowe's can buy or cancel advertising as it sees fit. That's business. But to label as propaganda a reality TV show about a bunch of Lebanese-Americans in Dearborn, Michigan? That's un-American.