Monday, January 9, 2012

Lowe’s and the Florida Family Association – the whole story

In the summer of 2011, TLC (The Learning Channel – on cable TV) began advertising for its upcoming reality TV series, entitled, “All-American Muslim”.  This show was to follow the every-day lives of 5 Muslim families in the Dearborn, MI area.  The Dearborn area has one of the highest concentrations of Muslims in the United States, which may explain why TLC selected this city for its series.

Immediately, the Islamaphobes (those who have an irrational fear of Islam and anything related to it) began to attack this show for being “…dangerous by omitting terrorism and those who support it and extreme Sharia law advocates”. If we, those who have common sense, equally judge other reality TV shows, we never see/saw any of the extreme stereotypes being presented or portrayed in these shows.  Why should this show be held to a different measurement? Also note, there is also an element of hatred that Islamaphobes have toward Islam and Muslims as a result of their irrational fear.

Of note, the initial Islamaphobes attacking this show are paid Islamaphobes. These are people who not only have this aforementioned irrational fear of Islam, but financially profit from spreading lies and distortions about Islam and Muslims causing others, who aren’t informed, to be as irrationally fearful of Islam as themselves, if not more so! Once they've ginned up the excuses to fear Islam & Muslims, the uninformed are willing to pay the "professional Islamaphobes" any amount of money to "remain informed" of the "evil plots planned for them by Islam and Muslims".  After the paid Islamaphobes had published their attacks of this show, the non-paid Islamaphobes began to parrot the words of the paid Islamaphobes.

One such non-paid Islamaphobes is David Caton.  He is the founder/president/CEO/CFO/treasurer/secretary/ receptionist/janitor/etc. of the now-discredited  Florida Family Association (FFA).  While he has others of the same bigoted mindset that financially contribute to his causes (and he has a few), he is the sole member of this organization that he founded.  For more info on David Caton and what else he opposes, click the link here.

Mr. Caton, under the cloak of the FFA, began to quote the paid Islamaphobes, word-for-word on his website, attacking the show and its allegeddanger by omission”.  He contacted the corporate advertisers of TLC and tried to pressure them to pull their support away from TLC, using the baseless rhetoric he borrowed for his website, for showing Muslim families in America who were just like most average Americans and not the extremist element his limited & bigoted stereotype dictated that Muslims should be!  He also asked those who’d donated to him in the past to also contact those same advertisers.

Lowe’s was the only corporation to cave to David Caton’s bigotry, thus validating his bigotry.  On his website, David claims that a majority of the advertisers that were initially advertising during this show had pulled its ads, though no other company would confirm this.  In fact, Amway, which has network marketers in other countries (which includes Muslims) firmly denied David Caton’s accusations.

When confronted with these facts, Lowe’s claims to have pulled its ads without the input of the FFA, not knowing that the FFA was only David Caton.  David was so happy (and reckless) over his deception of Lowe's, he posted Lowe’s e-mail on his website, boasting.  Fortunately, I took a screen shot of it which listed a name and contact e-mail of a Lowe’s representative.  I kept (and still have) the screen shot (on my Facebook page), but I also sent a direct e-mail to the contact with David Caton in the Cc section.  I wanted him to know that Lowe’s had been used and thrown under the proverbial bus as a pawn in David’s bigoted game.  He didn’t care about Lowe’s.  His only goal was to injure the Muslim community.  To date, I have received no reply from the Lowe’s representative, but David sent me a childish and taunting reply.  Since then, David claims that his website was hacked by Anonymous and when it was fixed, he had removed the e-mail that he received from Lowe’s.

Showing that the outrage is an interfaith issue, a group of Christian leaders in the Charlotte, NC area (where Lowe’s is headquartered) met with Lowe’s to express their outrage over their decision to validate bigotry.  They were told that, “… it is Lowe’s policy to not advertise on programs that are issues of controversy”.

Since then, Jibril Hough, of the Charlotte Islamic Society has met with a spokeswoman of Lowe’s how fed him the same line (lie).  All parties, the Christian leaders and Jibril Hough, are unaware of the e-mail that was sent to David Caton, thanking him for bringing the show, All-American Muslim, to their (Lowe’s) attention. They told Jibril Hough that they’d consider meeting with the Charlotte Muslims in the future as if their error only caused harm to the Charlotte area Muslims. Somehow, this offer satisfied Jibril Hough.

So, while Lowe’s may not have known that David Caton was just another bigot with a bone to pick with Muslims, they did  know (or should have known) that they thanked him for his “bringing the show to their attention”. That e-mail from Andrew Kilby, Lowe's Executive Support, has since been reposted on David Caton's site. But since this was a once-private e-mail only made public by David Caton before he removed it from his site, they could deny and lie as they did above.

Now, Lowe’s has no immediate incentive to do the right thing.  The only right thing  for Lowe’s to do at this point would be to:
  1.  Offer a real and sincere apology to Muslims and others who were offended by their not  validating or invalidating the claims of David Caton & validation of bigotry before acting on his word alone. 
  2.  Publicly denounce and discredit David Caton and the Florida Family Association as a bigot/bigoted organization and un-American
  3.  Reach out to the entire North American Muslim community as not all Muslims in the US live in Charlotte and there are Muslims near many of their Lowe’s stores all across the continent.
  4. Then explain how their diversity program includes members of all faiths in the United States…and mean it!

This would be the only acceptable course for Lowe’s to take to make things right, not only with the Muslim community, but others who were offended that Lowe’s would validate and elevate bigotry in the United States of America.

Feel free to contact Andrew Kilby @ (866) 900-4650 or to express your displeasure at Lowe's validation of bigotry.  You may also contact David Caton of the now- infamously bigoted Florida Family Association @ to express your displeasure at him just being an all-around bigot.

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