My Decision to Boycott Lowe’s

This week, Lowe’s pulled advertisements from TLC’s show “All-American Muslim” about several Muslim families in the Dearborn area. I don’t watch the show.  I don’t need to watch a television show that “normalizes” Muslims.  My Muslim friends and co-workers are normal enough to me without television.  Frankly, I don’t shop at Lowe’s all that much either, but I won’t be shopping there at all any longer. The people urging Lowe’s to pull the ads had a message to share.

I have a few messages to share here:

To the people who are protesting the portrayal of “ordinary Muslims” on t.v. as misleading given the existence of extremism: You have the right to your opinion, you have the right to band together as Americans and protest and sign petitions and publish your opinions. I respect that and I defend it. I also have the right to my opinion and to publish it. Here it is. You are small-minded bigots. You are ignorant about foreign policy, clearly understand very little about the world at large and the social, economic, and ideological reasons leading to conflict, and are delusional if you think that escalating religious bigotry is going to somehow protect America.  Your ignorance is part of the problem, and is a solution to nothing.  Shame on you. This is disgraceful. America is not about the politics of fear, it’s about the idea that millions of people with divergent views and beliefs and values can peacefully live together. America is about living with differences, but still working together for the common good. How dare you spit on that and call yourselves patriotic?

To Lowe’s: You have the right to make economic decisions based on what is in your best interest. Clearly, your corporation feels that its clientele is offended by diversity, and positive portrayals of some of our American neighbors. That’s fine. I’m offended by your clientele, and I’m offended that your corporate policies reflect an utter vacuum of morality and common decency. I choose not to spend time with your clientele, and I choose not to patronize your store. Your competitors will be getting my home improvement dollars.

To the people of America: Why don’t you get to know your neighbors this Christmas season? All of them. Not just the ones like you who attend your churches, or patronize your social clubs, or agree with you politically. Maybe your Muslim or Hindu or Catholic or Mormon or Lutheran or Wiccan or atheist neighbors will surprise you. Maybe you have more in common than you think. Perhaps, when Jesus said “love seeketh not her own” that’s what he had in mind. I think I’ll trust him on this one.

Comments

  1. Thanks Karen. I wasn’t even aware of the controversy. I know some of my Muslim friends don’t even like the show because they show people on the fringes and try to pass them off as everyday Muslims.

  2. Thank you, Karen. I love your last paragraph- and intend to “seeketh not her own” a little bit more often.

  3. Amen, Karen. Moments before discovering your post I finished my own complaint email to Lowe’s. And I made sure they knew that I’ve spent thousands of personal and business dollars there in the past, and that they won’t be getting any more from me.

  4. I don’t know which is sadder, that Lowe’s made this decision or the possibility that it was a strategically sound one. Great post, Karen, we need to be calling them out for crap like this.

  5. Thanks for letting us know about this, Karen, and AMEN to everything in your post. This makes me so angry, and I’m only disappointed that I don’t shop at Lowe’s much to begin with. I’m going to send them an email right now.

  6. P.S. This is from the Lowe’s website, in the section called “Social Responsibility”:

    At Lowe’s, inclusion means creating a place where everyone has the opportunity to grow and succeed. Lowe’s is committed to treating each customer, employee, community, investor and vendor with respect and dignity.

  7. My Muslim niece sent me the link to the Florida group behind the urge to boycott advertisers on AAM, which urged readers to use their convenient form to email all advertisers and make their ugly claims. I changed the subject line to “Thank you for advertising on All-American Muslim” and completely rewrote the body of the email to urge advertisers not to cave into the bigotry and fear-mongering, and with one click sent that email to all the advertisers. Mighty convenient of the Florida group to round up all those email addresses for me, don’t you think? But obviously there were more of their kind than there was of my kind.

    Shame on Lowe’s.

  8. .

    Just read their response on Facebook and I’m shocked by the wishywashiness of their nonstatement. Apparently, if you get a variety of feedback on something you stop doing it? I guess?

  9. do people still attend “social clubs” ?

  10. Yeah, their response on FB is one of the most pathetic, spineless, meaningless string corporate-responsibility-ish-sounding doublespeak I’ve seen in a long time. And from a business standpoint, I’m simply shocked that their executives thought it would be good to associate their brand with that kind of extremism (or at least pandering to extremism) at the expense of current alienation of so many consumers and future embarrassment about having been so breathtakingly backwards.

  11. Seeing as that I prefer The Home Depot, I’ll gladly boycott a store I don’t shop anyway.

  12. Wow. I’m like Miri–I’m sad I don’t already shop there, so I could actually boycott. However, I’ll post it on Facebook and tell my friends and families to shop somewhere else. This is really awful. Awful enough so that years down the road when I do need supplies, I’ll remember the bigotry and shop elsewhere.

  13. The only thing that would get me to return to Lowe’s is if they would host a gay wedding ceremony in their aisles or have an inclusive Mormon wedding (no temple recommend required) on their property.

    I’m just so grateful the Church doesn’t pull their I’m a Mormon ads during questionable shows.

  14. Kevin Barney says:

    fwiw I’ve been watching the show and quite enjoy it.

  15. I’ll shop there now! Good on them.

  16. Incredible. This, plus the abominable Republican nominations process, is testament to the grotesquerie of the American right at the moment.

  17. Wait, the complaints originated in Florida? Who pays attention to Florida? I didn’t even realize they were still a state.

  18. http://news.yahoo.com/backlash-lowes-ads-pulled-muslim-show-091701562.html

    Lowe’s was wrong, but I am not sure that I want the State Government of California weighing in on this.

    Thanks you Karen, excellent post. I’m in the same boat as several here due to distance. The nearest Lowe’s is over 50 miles away so my boycott is largely symbolic.

    # 7 Ardis you have shown again why you are one of my favorite people, I wish that I had half the talent and imagination that you do.

    # 15 Ram. If you are being ironic, I didn’t find your statement to be very funny. If you are serious, you have that right, just like I have the right to think that such a reaction is shallow, bigoted, and mean spirited.

  19. Wow. Wasn’t it Lowes who got into hot water for not using the word Christmas in their ads for Christmas Trees a few years back? Those guys just can’t get it right…

  20. Sharee Hughes says:

    I’ve shopped at both Lowe’s and Home Depot in the past. Now it will just be Home Depot. It’s closer, anyway. Bigotry cannot be tolerated!

  21. NewlyHousewife says:

    “We understand the program raised concerns, complaints, or issues from multiple sides of the viewer spectrum, which we found after doing research of news articles and blogs covering the show,” said Katie Cody, a Lowe’s spokeswoman.

    Looks like Katie doesn’t know Google results are personalized to taste…

    Sadly though Lowe’s is the only home improvement store in our area so I won’t be able to boycott physically–we need a new sump pump–but I will be doing so in spirit by limiting my purchases.

  22. The very enjoyable sitcom “Little Mosque on the Prairie” has been on the air in Canada for several years… I can’t remember if they ever had much trouble with advertisers.

  23. NewlyHousewife:

    “Yes, I’m ready to check out. I need to purchase this sump pump and this bucket full of unsorted wood screws of various sizes.” [Wait for checker to ring up wood screws individually.] “Wait, on second thought, I’ll just take the sump pump.” Just a suggestion… :)

  24. No I was not being ironic. I do believe Islam = hate. That is not bigotry, but a criticism of the faith.

  25. The fact that it’s criticism doesn’t mean it’s not bigoted. It is. Stupid, ignorant, self righteous, and totally bigoted.

  26. it's a series of tubes says:

    The comments by the California state senator linked to in #18 should inspire far more commentary than the pulling of the ads should, particularly among folks with ostsensibly progressive leanings. Why so silent regarding overt advocacy of prior restraint?

  27. Nick Literski says:

    Your “To Lowe’s” paragraph is exactly the right message to send, i.e., “I recognize your legal right to be a corporate jackass, I also claim my right to criticize your jackassery and refuse to support any business that engages in it.” Bravo, Karen!

    This “Florida Family Association,” which organized the email protest and threatened a boycott is the same group which primarily sponsored Florida’s 2009 state constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality. What I find bizarre is that if supporters of marriage equality boycott a business for contributing to anti-GLBT political measures, groups like the Florida Family Association promptly scream that “the gays are harassing christians.” The National Organization for Marriage has even formed a side-group now, devoted to documenting such “abuse” by GLBT people against marriage equality opponents. NOM and others of their ilk are also (unsuccessfully) suing various states in an attempt to exempt them from campaign finance disclosure laws, on the basis that their donors will allegedly be “harassed” by protests, boycotts, etc.

    Why is it that these religiously-based bigotry groups claim to be doing deity’s work by boycotting or launching email campaigns at the slightest provocation, but when anyone they disagree with does the same thing, they scream “harassment” and “violation of religious freedom?”

  28. Amen, Brad.

  29. Looks like Home Depot is not an alternative according to FFA’s website.

  30. Nick Literski says:

    #24:
    I do believe Islam = hate. That is not bigotry, but a criticism of the faith.

    That has to be one of the most obnoxious, bigotted comments I’ve ever seen in the Bloggernacle. I can only imagine you thinking it was “just fine” if someone made such a statement against the LDS faith, and tried to cover it with “That is not bigotry, but a criticism of the faith.”

    I don’t fear foreigners with bomb plots nearly as much as I fear the influence of American citizens who believe as you claim to believe, Ram.

  31. What is wonderful is that all this anti-boycott stuff isn’t going to work like liberals think it will. I already know lots of people like Ram who will now go to Lowes specifically because of this. At most its going to equal out the consumer purchases.

  32. I meant all this boycott because of pulling out of a Muslim glorification show isn’t going to work like liberals think it will. Muslims aren’t Mormons by the way.

  33. Jettboy, what’s your point?

  34. I agree with Jettboy. We should never attempt movements on ethical on moral grounds, because bigotry will never be defeated. That’s the American/Christian thing to do.

  35. #24 – Wow – and not in the way I normally use that word after reading something here at BCC.

    We’ve come a long way, but we have so much further to go. As Nick said, if people would think long enough about some of their assumptions to see how they’d react if others said the same things about them . . .

  36. Jettboy actually has a point. He has threatened to boycott the bloggernacle a hundred times, but his stupidity glorification comments just aren’t working like he thinks they will.

  37. When you think, especially as a member of a generally misunderstood and mistreated religious minority, that a reality show about a Muslim family that does not depict them in accordance with negative stereotypes = “Muslim glorification,” you’ve got your head pretty far up your own ass.

  38. I can just see the bigots getting upset over a hypothetical show about Mormons because it ignores the extremist Mormons who are polygamists.

    We can criticize Muslims all we want, but seeing that we’re next on the list of unpopular religions, we might want to be smarter than that. Not to mention more Christ-like.

  39. [edited by admin]

  40. I love this show! It’s one of the better uses of my time spent in front of the tv today. It may not be a perfect view of what it’s like to be a muslim today, but it’s certainly close, in my opinion. I’ve never understood the belief that all muslims are extremists. To me, that’s the same as saying that all Germans are nazis. It’s not correct, it’s not educated, it, like you said, doesn’t solve any of the problems we’re dealing with today. It makes them worse. It’s not what we’re about here.

  41. #38: What Tim said!

    People, please dial down the personal bickering. Don’t let the trolls *cough*Ram*cough* drag you into the rhetorical mud with them, and ruin this thread in the process *cough*Brad#39*cough*. Thanks.

  42. oh I knew about this and was equally … sickened-disappointed-disturbed-saddened-disgusted, just lack the same ability to put it into words, thank you.

  43. Steve Evans says:

    Brad, I’m pretty sure your #39 is not correct.

  44. And Karen, where do you get your crazy ideas about what America is about?

  45. Steve, I find your characterization of my comment to be insulting and personally offensive. It’s not wrong, but a criticism of jettboy.

  46. Steve Evans says:

    Ram, bye.

  47. “Mr. McClure, my crazy friend thinks America is about people with diverse backgrounds working together for the common good. Is she crazy?”

  48. Steve Evans says:

    Brad you need to read Cynthia’s comment, please.

  49. Why the focus on Lowe’s? What about all the other companies that also pulled their advertising?

  50. Bridget, from what I’ve read, other no other company has verified that they pulled ads because of the complaints. Lowe’s did. I’ve been swamped today, though, and haven’t been following all the news stories to get updates. Please post links to updates if you have them.

  51. Florida Family is *claiming* that 65 advertisers have pulled their advertising, but their definition of “pulled” seems to mean only that some companies which have advertised on earlier shows did not run commercials during the two most recent episodes … as if any given two episodes of any show could have room for 65 additional commercials beyond the 19 sponsors who did advertise (two of them being new to the December 4/5 episodes, the other 17 having advertised on earlier shows as well). Florida Family has not posted a single notice from any advertiser but Lowe’s committing not to run further advertisements, and a notice from Home Depot saying they had no plans to run further advertising in that slot (but without any indication that they would not at some point run such ads). Like everything Florida Family has posted about All-American Muslim, it invents and rewrites and defines as necessary to declare war and declare victory. Booyah, Christian Soldiers.

  52. “Booyah, Christian Soldiers.”

    Ardis, FTW

  53. Ardis, FFA’s reporting is right out of the playbook of the American Family Association (a group that supports FFA). They “boycotted” Ford a number of years ago because Ford advertised in gay-friendly publications. When Ford (along with other auto companies) went through it’s restructuring and seriously curtailed its avertising budget, AFA, took credit for the decline in advertising in gay-friendly publications. In fact, AFA had nothing to do with it, and the company (Ford) was very clear about it.

    At that time I actually wrote to the head of AFA and told him I thought he was being deceptive in his causality. To his credit, he slightly tweaked the wording of his next letter to suggest that AFA was one of the influences…. At least a nod to accuracy….

    I appreciate your being clearer about the Home Depot story — I read the cover page of the FFA website, then clicked on the link and found what you did, but faile to report it as completely as you did.

  54. P.S. — Although the Florida Family website continues to say “You must include your name and email address. You may also modify the subject or message text if you wish” on its form to contact advertisers, they have in fact disabled the form to disallow changes to either subject or message text. You say what they want you to say, or you don’t say anything at all.

    Looks like there must have been a lot more people like me than I suspected. :D

  55. Yay, Ardis! I wish I’d gone and done that same thing earlier, when I had the chance.

  56. Sounds like we’ve found the Lowes common denominator.

  57. I was at the husband’s company Christmas party last Saturday night, and approximately 50% of his coworkers are Muslims of Iranian descent. The party was fun; it was at a swanky bowling alley with pool tables and all manner of entertainment. Everybody was laughing, bowling, hanging out. I met the nicest people, including the sweet kid who is angling to get my husband promoted as his boss, and has suggested they go back to college together to get their masters degrees. You guessed it – the kid’s a Muslim. Oh, and not a hijab in sight the whole evening. If these folks represent the majority of American Muslims, i’ll hang with them anytime. You haters don,t know what you,re missing.

  58. I do a blog on Utah diversity. Here’s a few articles I did this fall on Muslims in Utah.
    Here’s one on beliefs and culture (http://theculturalistweekly.blogspot.com/2011/08/how-much-do-you-really-know-about-islam.html).
    This one’s an interview with a Utah Muslim about discrimination (http://theculturalistweekly.blogspot.com/2011/09/one-muslims-perspective-utah-and.html).
    And this one’s an interview with another Utah Muslim who shares her perspectives on Palestine: (http://theculturalistweekly.blogspot.com/2011/09/one-muslims-perspective-what-utahns.html).

  59. I hope it is not too much of a threadjack if I ask…Any ideas on simple (for 9 y.o.) explanation of the similarities/commonality between Muslims and Mormons? One of my primary kids asked, and I knew they both share roots in the Abrahamic covenant, but I did not know what else to say.

  60. Ram,
    This is why Christianity=hate
    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/pastor-corporal-punishment-advice-scrutinized-child-deaths-160004793.html

    Taking a fringe incident and casting its shadow on an entire religious tradition is ludicrous.

  61. Karen, count me in. Working in a Muslim country for a few years (Senegal) has taught me that this kind of nonsense has to stop. #24′s comment was appalling and hate filled, I think it’s safe to assume he/she is not any sort of follower of Christ. In a paraphrase Clifford’s axiom, “It is always and everywhere wrong for anyone to promote hate.”

  62. it's a series of tubes says:

    mmiles, while I disagree with Ram’s position, his statement in #61 is accurate, particularly with respect to Saudia Arabia.

    As to the issue of fringe vs mainstream, the following are certainly interesting reading, even if only for perspective:
    “Infidel” by Aayan Hirsi Ali
    “Future Jihad” and/or “The War of Ideas” by Walid Phares

  63. I sure get sick of hearing about boycotts championed by various “family associations” during the holiday season. I guess you can do whatever you want and look good doing it if you just call yourself a family association. It seems to me that these sort of things are not so much expressions of opposition to holiday commercialization, as they are efforts to control it for their own benefit.

  64. Ram, if at some point you have a coherent comment to make, rather than a laundry list of grossly reductionist statements of points of Islamic doctrine or Sharia law, we’ll happily post your comments. Until then, welcome to the illustrious BCC mod queue.

  65. To be as fair to ram as possible (with special emphasis on possible) … radical Islam is a real problem in the world. The gap lies in not realizing there are liberal readings of Islam that have been active historically, even dominant historically, and are active now, and dominant in many areas, certainly in the U.S.. (A quick study of Spain under Islam as opposed to Catholic Spain after Islam is very instructive.) By refusing to acknowledge the existence of those liberal readings, we circumscribe their ability to be heard, both within and without their religion, as well as their ability to participate in our democracy.

    Heckfire! At the CC I was attending in Seattle, a solid 7% of the students were Muslim … sitting right there next to me writing about Thelma and Louise’s sexuality. Nobody blew up the class, or even walked out.

  66. Thanks TP. “The gap lies in not realizing there are liberal readings of Islam that have been active historically, even dominant historically, and are active now, and dominant in many areas, certainly in the U.S..” Exactly! And lots of in between.

  67. S. Parshall says:

    I feel really great reading this post and almost all of the comments. I get so depressed when I read comments on most stories and videos about Muslims. The common theme seems to be that since Muslims are so inherently and irreparably violent, the only way to deal with them is with violence. They never seem to recognize the hypocrisy in that.

    I just wanted to say in regards to #62′s suggestions about Aayan Hirsi Ali and Walid Phares…. Aayan Hirse Ali has admitted that most of the story she told of her life was a complete fabrication designed to get herself Dutch citizenship and get her elected to parliament. She continues to profit from her lies, in spite of the fact that she was forced to admit she was lying.

    Walid Phares was a member of a radical group in Lebanon that carried out its fair share of massacres during the Lebanese Civil War, including the massacres of Sabra and Chatila, in which hundreds of old men, women and children were gunned down at point blank range (all the men of fighting age had left for other countries per an agreement they made with Israel. Israel promised to guarantee the safety of their relatives if they would leave the country. Instead, the secured the area and allowed the “Lebanese Forces” to enter the camps and slaughter all the people, while they stood guard.) The Lebanese Forces were and are a fascist group, whose founder was inspired by the Nazis. I’ve met some people who are ideologically supportive of the group, and they are positively scary– not afraid to call for extermination of people they disagree with.

    I’m not saying there is no such thing as legitimate criticism of Islam and Muslims. There is, and I as a Muslim recognize that. It’s just that so many of the supposed “experts,” most of whom are “former Muslims,” are really frauds. Ms. Ali, Ergun Caner, Walid Shoebat, etc… They make lots of money claiming they are former terrorists or that they have the “inside story” on Islam, and time after time it emerges that they are total liars. I would just be careful about who you get your information from. Being anti-Muslim, especially if you were born a Muslim, is BIG business. Make sure you’re not being relieved of your money by a professional con-artist.

    That’s all. Sorry for the thread-jacked side topic. I was born a Mormon (I am the niece Ardis speaks of), and I have nothing but love and respect for Mormons, especially when I see them saying things like this. We can and should be allies against prejudice, hatred, and ignorance.

  68. If you’re actually looking for some serious reading on the attitudes of Muslims around the world (not just a few cherry picked stories pointing out extremism) I would suggest a fascinating book based on a huge six year Gallup poll study of Muslims all over the world. “Who Speaks for Islam.” Just the sheer diversity within Islam is astonishing when you look at the numbers. http://www.amazon.com/Who-Speaks-Islam-Billion-Muslims/dp/1595620176

  69. it's a series of tubes says:

    Aayan Hirse Ali has admitted that most of the story she told of her life was a complete fabrication designed to get herself Dutch citizenship and get her elected to parliament.

    Having discussed this topic with her personally and done extensive related research, I know that your statement as quoted is, simply, not true.

    As to Mr. Phares, his credentials WRT commenting in an informed manner on Islam speak for themselves, but I’ll post a brief Amazon-level summary anyway:
    **************
    Professor Walid Phares is a Senior Fellow and the director for Future Terrorism Project at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies in Washington (2001-2009). He is also a Visiting Fellow with the European Foundation for Democracies in Brussels (2006-2009). He is Fox News Terrorism and Middle East Expert since 2007 and has been MSNBC-NBC Terrorism Analyst from 2003 to the end of 2006. Professor Phares has been an advisor to the US House of Representatives Caucus on Counter Terrorism since 2007 and to the Trans Atlantic Legislative Group on Counter Terrorism since 2008.
    He teaches Global Strategies at the National Defense University in Washington DC since 2006 and he has been a Professor of Middle East Studies, Ethnic and Religious Conflict at the Department of Political Science at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) from 1993 to 2006. Professor Phares has also been a senior lecturer on the War on Terror and Global Conflicts at the LLS Program of FAU and the IRP Program at the University of Miami. Previously he taught at Florida International University and at Saint Joseph University in Beirut.

    Professor Phares lectures on US campuses, nationwide, and internationally including in London, Stockholm, Brussels, Strasbourg, Mexico, Geneva, Paris, Lisbon, Sao Paolo, Montreal, Rome, Berlin, Madrid, Nicosia and Beirut. He testifies to and conducts briefings at the US Congress, the European Parliament and Commission, and the UN Security Council, as well as to US State Department and other foreign ministries worldwide and to officials on Counter Terrorism in Europe and the United States.

    Dr Phares also lectures to and advise the US Departments of Justice, Defense, and Homeland Security on academic research on Terrorism. He has served as an expert on Terrorism with the US and European Governments since 2003. Dr Phares serves as an academic advisor to several Human Rights and minority groups.

    Since 1979, Dr Phares has published ten books on Middle East Conflicts and International Terrorism.

    Born and raised in Lebanon, Dr Walid Phares was educated at St Joseph and the Lebanese Universities of Beirut where he obtained degrees in Law and Political Science as well as a certificate in Sociology. He obtained a Masters in International Law from the Universite de Lyons in France and a Ph.D. in International Relations and Strategic Studies from the University of Miami.

    *************

    As to my own opinions, I’ve read the Hilali/Khan English translation of the Qur’an in its entirety. If there is a different English version you suggest, I’ll gladly check it out for comparison and give it a full, complete reading.

  70. “Police investigating a Mississippi home invasion have broken up what they say is a paramilitary group that trained its members in “hand to hand combat skills, paramilitary training and scriptures.””

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/12/home-invasion-the-savior-unit_n_1144646.html

    The paramilitary group in this story called themselves “The Savior Unit.” If one would use the same reasoning that Ram used in # 59 above, than we can clearly see that Christianity=Hate. Never mind that these were a few extreme right wing nut-bags, they obviously represent all Christianity, just as a few extremists represent all Muslims for those with closed minds.

    Since “The Savior Unit” proves that Christianity is an evil hate filled religion, I call on Lowe’s to pull all of is commercials from “The Charlie Brown Christmas Special,” “A Christmas Story,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and all other holiday programming with “Christmas” in the title or that is primarily directed to a Christian audience.

  71. S. Parshall says:

    #68 That’s a great book! But why muddle things up by finding out what Muslims themselves say about their beliefs when you can just assume they fit your stereotypes? :)

    #69 Sorry, I read the Quran mostly in Arabic. The translation you mention is a little conservative in its commentary, but I don’t really find it that bad. “The Message of the Quran” by Muhammad Asad is on the other end of the spectrum as far as conservative/liberal readings go without going into the realm of changing what it says to suit your beliefs (like the Ahmadis or someone like Laleh Bakhtiar). I’m not ashamed of anything in the Quran, but I’m not going to debate it with you. I’ve been through that, and it’s boring, and no one is going to change their opinion, so it’s pointless.

    As far as the people, I don’t need to argue that with you. People can make up their own minds with the information that’s available.

  72. *sigh*

    My niece is so much wiser and better able to suffer fools diplomatically than I am. She didn’t get that from either side of her family, so far as I can tell. Maybe it’s that violent, reactionary, woman-suppressing, democracy-destroying, Christian-hating, backward Islam that has ensnared her mind and forced civilization upon her …

  73. I also think Islam is hateful and dangerous. Haven’t seen the tv show, but it sounds like Lowe’s is just a pawn in all this.

  74. #68: hits the nail on the head–It’s one thing to say that Mormons believe something, because we have a centralized and more-or-less unified set of beliefs. Not so much for Islam. However, the Saudis certainly lay claim to some type of authority, both with the custodianship of Muslim holy sites and their money which spreads Wahhabism around the world.

    #71: Does the wording of the Koran actually matter that much? Most Muslims I’ve met want the same things as anyone else: to live in peace, prosper, raise their families, etc. You, as an American, exercise your rights to pick and choose to what cultural form of Islam you wish to adhere. That cultural form, though, is a clear minority–at least at the present time. Clearly you don’t wish to be a woman in the “Muslim world,” or you’d already be there.

    To me, at least, the debate isn’t between Islam and Christianity–it’s between religiousity and secularism. Fortunately, most of the “West” has already adopted a more secular model, especially as far as government is concerned.

    One thing I have noticed in a decade+ of studying international relations in the Middle East that strikes me as strange is that generally I find women to be more passionate in their defense of Islam, while men tend to be more confrontational. Strange, I say, because I don’t think that anyone can make the argument that a more Islamic (or more religious in any form or belief set) government could possibly be better for women.

  75. Fwiw, the Islamic civilizations of Europe during the Christian Dark Ages flowered in ways that were incomprehensible to the Christians of the time.

    Ignorance really is bliss, and so are sweeping generalizations. Mormons, of all people, should understand that and not be quick to stereotype and misrepresent.

  76. Careful, Ray, a little deprecation of Christians on the way to praising Islamic civilizations is OK, but maybe you didn’t want to call out the “There were no Dark Ages” brigade.

  77. Steve Evans says:

    But there weren’t!!

  78. it's a series of tubes says:

    I’ve been through that, and it’s boring, and no one is going to change their opinion, so it’s pointless.

    S.,
    Thanks for the recommendation of another translation. I’ll check it out.

    I like your summary quoted above; it neatly encapsulates much of the “lots of heat and little light” nature of much online religious discussion.

  79. Some valiant ark-steadier needs to alert the brethren to this atrocity, then:

    http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/61801/Beauty-and-Belief-Crossing-Bridges-with-the-Arts-of-Islamic-Culture.html

    And we’re bringing in a Palestinian-American musician to help kick it off!

  80. S. Parshall says:

    #79 Thanks for linking that! It looks really exciting. I know that BYU for some time has been working on translating Islamic texts. If you are looking for certain ancient Islamic books on Amazon, many times it will say they are a part of a BYU series of translations.

    #74 I agree about what Muslims want, but I think the Quran matters quite a bit for practicing Muslims. We look to it for inspiration and comfort. It may mean nothing to you, but it means a great deal to Muslims. Commonly, the elderly and the sick play recitation continuously. I have been in more than one room of a terminally ill Muslim during my time in the Middle East, and they all did this. I don’t know about bias, but I have read about a study that said that people listening to Quran, even if they didn’t speak Arabic and/or weren’t Muslim, had lowered heart rates and blood pressure. We say the words from it many times a day. We memorize long passages of it. It’s a part of our lives! So, yes, I would say it matters as much as the holy book of any religious group matters to those people.

    As far as choosing to live in America, that is true. I, along with many other Muslims, feel it is easier to practice Islam here than anywhere else. I wouldn’t actually mind living in some of the Muslim countries, incidentally, but it’s not so easy to decide to pick up and move countries. But my culture is American, you might even say it’s Mormon American, and I don’t see anything contradictory about that. In fact, there are far more elements of Arab culture and South Asian culture that are contradictory to Islam than there are in the culture that I feel a part of, in my opinion.

    I disagree wholeheartedly that having things more Islamic is harmful to women. As time went on in the Muslim world, women became increasingly marginalized in society, but that was not always the case. In the time of the Caliph Umar (the 2nd caliph), the person running the market in Medina was a woman. Women were included in important meetings. This is evidenced by the story of the woman who disagreed publicly with a judgment made by Umar, and he agreed that she was correct, and he wrong, and withdrew his statement. Women were scholars, and they still are, albeit in smaller numbers than in Islamic ages of the past. I’ve even read that the faculty in ancient Islamic centers of learning had a greater proportion of women than in Western universities today. Even I was surprised by that, and I have known for a long time that Muslim women have many role models to look up to in their history, starting with the very first person to accept Islam– Khadija. She’s so amazing, I can’t even begin to describe it. She was strong, intelligent, powerful, and devoted, and there is no question she was the love of the Prophet’s life. Long after she had died, things that had belonged to her made the Prophet weep in remembrance of her.

    I’ve heard it said that there are as many forms of Islam as there are Muslims, and I’m inclined to agree with that. A lot of Muslims are always chasing the idea of a Utopian Muslim society, but in my opinion as a worldwide community we’re not ready for that and it doesn’t exist, and we should focus instead on improving ourselves and our families instead of following after this elusive dream. And I too agree with having secular government, at this time. The reason I believe in this is that Muslims have a lot of cultural baggage that they need to shed. There are centuries of interpretations and incorporations of the cultural norms of groups like the Byzantines and Sassanids, that must be peeled back. We need fresh eyes. Thought has become stagnant. There are certain Islamic principles that must be brought back into Muslim life, and these include a rigorous devotion to scholarship, social safety nets and support for the poor, and the protection of women.

    Scholars in Muslim minority countries are working as we speak on the fiqh (or rules of jurisprudence) of living as a minority. I have never heard any mainstream Muslim say anything other than that we must obey the laws of the country we live in, as long as we are allowed to practice our faith. There are precedents in the early Muslim community of living under the rule of a just non-Muslim, and of making treaties and honoring them. People such as Anjem Choudary are regarded as you probably regard him– as a complete nutjob. He’s so universally despised among Muslims that you don’t even have to express it. It’s understood.

    You are not the arbiter of what is Islamic and what is not, and neither is the bloated Saudi Royal Family. They have a lot of money, so it’s easy for them to get their perspective out there, but they are not legitimate in the minds of most Muslims. And it’s not your place to tell Muslims that their faith teaches terrorism or that it disrespects women and so forth. We have our own leaders, and we don’t need non-Muslim internet scholars teaching us what certain things mean and don’t mean.

    Incidentally, if you’re curious about what kind of scholar is popular among a great many American Muslims, as well as Muslims around the world who speak English or have seen one of his shows in Arabic, check out Hamza Yusuf. You can find video of him on YouTube. He gets criticism from the conservatives, but the fact is that none of them can sell as many taped lectures as he can.

    I probably won’t be commenting again on this post. I’ve really veered the discussion off course, and I get so easily pulled into long discussions, I have to be careful. Cheers to everyone and thanks for chatting with me. I hope you have a merry Christmas.

  81. S. Parshall says:

    Just one other quick thing! The now infamous imam of the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” wrote a book some time ago called “What’s Right with Islam is What’s Right with America,” and if you are interested in my claim that America and Islam are compatible (meaning you can be a Muslim and an American at the same time, without contradiction), this would be the book to go to, I think.

  82. Hey, guys–I hate to butt in here like this, but our friend Ram has some stuff that he needs to get off of his chest.

    Ram Comments

  83. #81–Let me summarize what you wrote: There are lots of different opinions, but the hundreds of millions of people who approach Islam completely differently from me, including the ones who have founded countries and nations based upon their beliefs, just need to get a clue. I’d be happy to educate them, but they might kill me if I tried. I’m a proud Muslim but consider myself a “cultural Mormon,” meaning that I a) haven’t yet come across the concept of “dhimmi” in my study of Arabic, b) don’t mind the idea of “honor killings,” because at least it’s for honor, or c) can’t bring myself to give up my 47-recipes-for-jello collection. Muslims can be Americans. Let me be really defensive about the worldwide umma, even though deep down I feel sickened by what some of my brothers and sisters do (mostly to each other) in the name of Islam. It’s easier to pretend that the Islam that they’ve nurtured and cherished for generations and centuries isn’t “true” Islam, even though I already said that the practice of Islam in a certain way validates it as being a legitimate form of Islam (“There are as many forms of Islam as there are Muslims.”). I wish that Americans would just stop and look at all the good, empowering, progressive things that Muslims are doing in the world today, like….like…., well, those darn Mongorians! They ruined everything!

    P.S. The Bible has splintered Christianity into thousands of sects. Even Mormons have broken up a dozen or so times, and that’s just in 170 years! The Koran held Islam unified through Muhammed plus four caliphs. Bottom line–folks looking for power will use what they want from holy books and discard the rest, no matter their religious persuasion.

    P.P.S. Don’t see where I mentioned terrorism is my previous post, nor where, in a fair reading, I posed as an arbiter of things Muslim or tried to lecture anyone about their religion. Until my slight editorializing in the last paragraph, it was simply some tying together some observations that were fairly, well, obvious. But hey, easier to cast me in a sterotype that to actually read what I wrote, right?

  84. Scott B.,

    That is…wow. Just wow.

  85. http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-december-13-2011/kabulvision—a-new-lowe?xrs=share_fb

    Aasif says it best. :)

    I was pretty surprised at the direction this thread went. I wonder just how pervasive Islamophobia is among Mormons. Is it coming from the vocal few, or is it pretty common?

  86. Mommie Dearest says:

    Gald, I assure you it is a vocal few. As evidence, I’ll repost this link from #80:

    http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/61801/Beauty-and-Belief-Crossing-Bridges-with-the-Arts-of-Islamic-Culture.html

  87. 86–that would be an interesting survey. Judging from Facebook conversations I had during the whole “Ground Zero Mosque” thing, I’d say Islamaphobia is far more pervasive among Mormons than it should be. I don’t think it’s just “the vocal few,” although I have no idea how many it is. I think the church itself is doing a pretty good job, but many members give more heed to Fox News than the church.

  88. I have always felt like Muslims and Mormons were natural allies. With my Muslim friends, I never had to explain that I didn’t drink, or that I was trying to find a dress that didn’t show off my cleavage like a RenFair wench, or that I read my scriptures and pray daily. When we hang out, I pray with them if it’s time for them to pray, because I believe in 13th Article of Faith, and in seeking after that which is “virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy”. I think that we can each learn a lot from each other about striving to become the people that God would have us be.
    Also, I’m just going to make a shameless plug for Lessing’s play “Nathan the Wise”. It’s an invaluable story about the importance of tolerance.

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