Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, December 2011
Lowe's Controversy and Gingrich's Hateful Statements Led to Increase in US Islamophobic Incidents
December 31, 2011
According to CAIR Civil Rights Attorney Amara Chaudry, Swanger's rhetoric is "nativist" and "is singling me out..."
CAIR Action Alert:
Don't Let Lowe's Off the Hook for Appeasing Anti-Muslim Bigotry Take a letter to your local Lowe's store manager, post a photo online
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today urged all people of conscience to continue to hold Lowe's corporate headquarters accountable for its decision to appease anti-Muslim bigotry by delivering a letter of protest to a store manager and posting a photo of that action online. Nearly 250,000 people have already expressed their disappointment in Lowe's.
A sample letter to Lowe's managers provided by CAIR states in part: "Lowe's should agree to undertake reasonable actions to show the broader American public that it's business model includes no room for bigotry. Until that time, we have no interest in your products."
The home improvement chain recently pulled its advertising from TLC's new reality series "All-American Muslim" because of an anti-Muslim campaign initiated by fringe right-wing groups like the Florida Family Association (FFA) and Internet hate sites such as "Bare Naked Islam" -- which recently featured a number of threats of violence targeting U.S. and European mosques. The hate groups objected to the show's non-stereotypical portrayals of American Muslims.
Lowe's officials have ignored requests to meet with community organizations.
A number of spontaneous protests have take place outside Lowe's stores nationwide and the retailer was forced to delete thousands of anti-Muslim comments from its Facebook page.
"Lowe's seems to be betting that the upcoming holidays will distract people from the corporation's decision to appease anti-Muslim bigots," said CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor. "If everyone takes a few simple steps we can remind Lowe's that caving in to bigotry is a bad business model."
Saylor noted that numerous politicians, celebrities and journalists have already spoken out against the decision to pull the ads. This week a group of Baptist and Jewish leaders delivered a petition with 200,000 signatures to Lowe's headquarters. A separate petition has over 40,000 signatures and is growing. CAIR is working in coordination with the National Boycott Lowe's Network and the Boycott Bigotry campaign.
ACTION REQUESTED (As always, be polite but persistent. Forward this alert to your friends and family and ask them to take similar actions.)
1) Deliver a letter to Lowe's and take a picture. (For Muslims this is a simple action to take right before or after Jummah prayers.)
Find a Lowe's outlet near you. Print a letter and have some friends and family join you in signing it. To print out the letter, go here. Make a sign that says "Boycott Bigotry." Go to your local Lowe's. Take a picture outside with your sign and the Lowe's logo. Deliver the letter to the store manager and ask him or her to send it to the regional manager. Later, post your photo on Boycott Bigotry, your Facebook and on Twitter (Sample: @Lowes caves to bigots over "All-American Muslim" so I will take my money elsewhere #boycottbigotry)
Community Advisory: ADC Alarmed by Increase in Reported Complaints
ADC is alarmed at the significant rise in the number of discrimination complaints that have been reported to the Legal Department during the month of December thus far.
ADC has experienced a significant increase in the number of complaints received in December, marking the highest total for any month of 2011.
The total number of cases received is nearly triple the number of cases received in December of 2010, and nearly 80% above the average for the month of December over the past 10 years. It is the opinion of ADC that this increase in cases is directly linked to the negative sentiments and hateful rhetoric launched against the Arab American and Muslim American communities during the recent controversies involving Lowe’s and its advertising on TLC’s reality TV show All-American Muslim and Newt Gingrich’s comments on Palestinians. A majority of reported complaints immediately followed the Lowe's controversy.
ADC reminds its members and greater community to be safe during this Holiday season. Please keep the following precautionary advisory tips in mind as you celebrate the holidays with family and friends.
ADC is releasing the following advisory statement to members of the Arab, Muslim, South Asian and Sikh American communities.
· Ensure that any place of worship you attend is prepared with an emergency plan that can be implemented should the need arise. Also, be familiar with all the exits to your place of worship, in case the building is attacked. For those attending evening Church services, and for Muslims attending nightly prayers, contact your local law enforcement officials and ask for protection during the evening hours. Lastly, it is advisable to find out whether your place of worship has an open line of communication with law enforcement.
· If you are placed in physical danger because of your ethnicity, religion or national origin: Call the police (dial 911 in most communities), and/or contact the local FBI office. It is the FBI's job to investigate hate-motivated crimes and specific threats of violence. List of FBI field offices
· Ensure that your children are aware that they can report any incidents of bullying or harassment to a school official or other adult. Work with your children's school to implement an anti-discriminatory policy, if a satisfactory one is not already in place.
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), which is non-profit, non-sectarian and non-partisan, is the largest grassroots Arab-American civil rights and civil liberties organization in the United States. It was founded in 1980 by former Senator James Abourezk. ADC has a national network of chapters and members in all 50 states.
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
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