Russell Simmons, a hip hop mogul and acolyte of Louis Farrakhan who described the Nation of Islam hatemonger as his second father, has jumped into the campaign, warning, “They can’t get away with that, it’s ridiculous… I can’t imagine the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, the National Urban League, or any organization that fights for their own rights will allow this to happen to any other group because they know they’re next.”
But no other group has a TV show dedicated to promoting its religion. Nor does any group have a TV show that advertisers are forced to give money to or face boycott threats. That’s the essence of freedom of religion. And that’s the point.
Freedom of religion means the freedom not to believe. That’s not the case in the Muslim world where no such freedom exists. Freedom of religion means that people are free to dislike Islam and that companies cannot and should not be compelled to advertise on shows that promote Islam. What Simmons and CAIR are up to is an assault on freedom of religion, compelling advertisers and their customers to support a cable television program on religious grounds.
If All-American Muslim was not a show about religious identity, Lowe’s would not be facing threats from Simmons, Lieu and CAIR. It is only because it is a show about a particular form of religious identity which they seek to endorse, that they also seek to compel Lowe’s to advertise on All-American Muslim.
Back on the show, which the media outlets fuming at Lowe’s are not actually watching, Jeff, who converted to Islam, to make his Muslim wife and in-laws happy, discovers that his new religion does not exactly have a positive view of dogs. Including his own best friend. Naturally this is presented in the most positive way possible, without any of the real life consequences. Consequences that include Muslim cabbies refusing to offer rides to the blind and a horrific history of animal abuse in their home countries.
“Muslims Moving On,” the fifth episode of All-American Muslim, packs in more of the same old family drama, which was so exciting that All-American Muslim has lost most of its audience. The fake controversy stirred up by CAIR and the media may bring a few viewers back, but they will quickly discover why they stopped watching.
All-American Muslim tries to promote Islam while defanging its image, but there isn’t anything interesting about the end result. TLC has aired some poor propaganda, and the only time the media will agree to cover it is when it can find a negative angle. Since a negative angle on Islam isn’t permitted, it has to be a negative angle on non-Muslims.
And so a show that might have been interesting had it honestly tackled the real issues in the Muslim world will instead live on by taking companies like Lowe’s hostage for their ad dollars.
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