Allen Park, Michigan - Protesters descended on a Lowe's store in one of the
country's largest Arab-American communities on Saturday, calling for a
boycott after the home improvement chain pulled its ads from a reality
television show about five Muslim families living in Michigan.
About 100 people gathered outside the store in Allen
Park, a Detroit suburb adjacent to the city where "All-American Muslim"
is filmed. Lowe's said this week that the TLC show had become a
"lightning rod" for complaints, following an email campaign by a
conservative Christian group.
Protesters including Christian clergy and lawmakers
called for unity and held signs that read "Boycott Bigotry" and chanted
"God Bless America, shame on Lowe's" during the rally, which was
organized by a coalition of Christian, Muslim and civil rights groups.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Detroit Democrat and the first
Muslim woman elected to the Michigan Legislature, said it was
"disgusting" for Lowe's to stop supporting a show that reflects America -
the conservatives, liberals and even "the Kim Kardashians" in the
Muslim community, she said.
"We're asking the company to change their mind," said
protester Ray Holman, a legislative liaison for a United Auto Workers
local. He said he was dismayed that the retailer "pulled sponsorship of a
A local rabbi extended his support to clergy at the
protest and local Arab Americans, saying he and other Jews would have
been at the protest had it not fallen during the Jewish Sabbath.
"I hope that they would likewise stand up and
demonstrate should something outrageous like this take place against
another religion," Rabbi Jason Miller said in a statement.
Lowe's spokeswoman Karen Cobb said Saturday that the company respected the protestors' opinion.
"We appreciate and respect everyone's right to express their opinion peacefully," she said.
The show premiered last month and chronicles the lives
of families living in and around Dearborn, a suburb of Detroit at the
heart of one of the largest Arab-American populations outside the Middle
Dearborn is home to the Islamic Center of America, one
of the largest mosques in North America. Overall, the Detroit area has
about 150,000 Muslims of many different ethnicities and is served by
about 40 mosques.
It airs Sundays and ends its first season Jan. 8.
The Florida Family Association has said more than 60
companies it emailed, from Amazon to McDonalds, pulled their ads from
the show, but Lowe's is the only major company so far to confirm that it
had done so.
The group accused the show of being "propaganda that
riskily hides the Islamic agenda's clear and present danger to American
liberties and traditional values."
The manager of the Lowe's store, Doug Casey, said the
company wasn't influenced by any outside group or ideology. He said
those who criticized Lowe's have a right to their opinion, but that
"it's not the opinion of most of the customers I spoke to in the store
"I'm deeply sorry if it's caused any divide in our
community," he said. "It was never our intention to offend or alienate