Dear Sir or Madam:
Open letter to the management of Lowe's on
withdrawal of advertising from All-American Muslim
December 23, 2011
It is not without some trepidation that I write to you on the subject of your television advertising. I must admit to you that I hate television. I don't watch it. I don't have it in my house. Had it not "gone viral" on the internet, I would know nothing about your withdrawal of advertising from the television show, All-American Muslim, nor anything about this show.
I am proud to tell you that I am an American Muslim. I converted to Islam almost 10 years ago, at the height of the hate-mongering and bigotry directed against Islam and its adherents throughout the United States, which, thanks be to God, has subsided to some degree.
Let me tell you of the circumstances under which I converted to Islam, as I believe this might have some bearing on the matter of your decision to withdraw your advertising from All-American Muslim.
Prior to my conversion to Islam, I was Catholic. As a Catholic, I believed strongly that we are called to work for Peace and Justice and that God loves all humanity, but particularly the poor and oppressed. Thus, when the US Catholic Bishops wrote to then president George W. Bush endorsing the war against Afghanistan as "regrettable, but necessary", I felt a deep sense of betrayal. While I considered joining one of the Christian peace churches, in my heart, I knew that I had already become a Muslim.
At the time, I was among the very few speaking out against the war, hatred and bigotry against Muslims that followed the events of September 11, 2001. Now I am among the 2/3 of us who see this folly for what it is, and want it brought to a quick end.
It is certainly informative to note how much 10 years of war, hate and bigotry has cost our nation: trillions of dollars in direct and indirect spending, an economy in shambles, and our prestige as a nation at an all-time low. Meanwhile, Islam is enjoying increased popularity in the United States. The effect of all the hate and bigotry focused on Islam; turns out to be opposite to what the bigots and hate-mongers had intended.
Lowe's is having a similar experience. Having sided with bigots and hate-mongers, it is facing a fast-growing boycott and loss of prestige. Meanwhile, as a result of Lowe's actions, All-American Muslim is apparently enjoying an unprecedented popularity and others are snapping up the advertising slots left vacant by Lowe's.
I would strongly advise Lowe's to repudiate bigotry and hate-mongering. I would also suggest that in order to counter the current perception that it is involved with bigotry, Lowe's do something very visible to promote inter-religious harmony and understanding.
Tom (Yusha) Sager