The Lowe’s logo (Pic via melissabargains.com)

Responding to the news that home improvement giant Lowe’s pulled its advertising from the TLC reality series All-American Muslim, People for the American Way today called on Americans to “boycott hate” and stop shopping at Lowe’s. The group is also speaking out against the Florida Family Association, the Tampa organization that played a large part in the ad pulls.

The Florida Family Association successfully called for companies that advertise during All-American Muslim to withdraw their ads, saying the show is nothing more than “propaganda clearly designed to counter legitimate and present-day concerns about many Muslims who are advancing Islamic fundamentalism and Sharia law.” Though more than 60 companies pulled their ads after FFA supporters sent letters, home improvement chain Lowe’s was the only company to comment publicly on why it did so.

Lowe’s reps have said the company pulled the ads due to “strong political and societal views” from many individuals and groups, but People for the American Way says the decision could have been avoided. “Lowe’s should have ignored the canned emails and gone about its business,” reads the group’s statement. “Instead it caved to a group of fanatics who want to make everyone live in accordance with their narrow and rigid religious beliefs.”

As in similar statements from others objecting to the ad pulls, People for the American Way says Lowe’s is “setting a dangerous precedent by meeting the demands of a fringe group” and should apologize and reinstate the ads in an effort to save face. The group also calls on Americans to “boycott hate” and “take their business elsewhere until Lowe’s rejects extremism.”

In a tweet sent out yesterday, hip-hop and fashion mogul Russell Simmons wrote that he had just purchased the remaining ad spots (which will advertise the Visa Rush card) for next week’s episode of All-American Muslim, adding that Lowe’s should “keep” its money: “Just purchased remaining spots for #allamericanmuslim for next week The show is now sold out! keep your money @Lowes and we will keep ours.”

Simmons also tweeted that he had gathered more than 16,000 signatures for a petition against Lowe’s, and will not stop until the company apologizes and reinstates its ads.

Read the full statement from People for the American Way:

Lowe’s is setting a dangerous precedent by meeting the demands of a fringe group, the Florida Family Association. Let’s be very clear about what happened.

TLC launched a popular reality show called ‘All-American Muslim’ about everyday Americans, who happen to be Muslim, going about their lives. They play sports, they go school, they go to work and pay their taxes. This was too much for the anti-Muslim fear mongers at the Florida Family Association, who were outraged that the show was depicting ‘Muslims as ordinary folks just like you and me.’ An article on the organization’s website suggests that the show instead depict ‘one of its secular, attractive nominal Muslims as he decided to get more serious about his faith, and ended up participating in jihad activity or Islamic supremacist efforts.’

The controversy should have ended there. Lowe’s should have ignored the canned emails and gone about its business. Instead it caved to a group of fanatics who want to make everyone live in accordance with their narrow and rigid religious beliefs.

Lowe’s should not base its advertising decisions on religion or the complaints of groups preaching intolerance. The company claims it is committed to diversity – it’s time to prove it.

There are millions of Americans who happen to be Muslim, and there are tens of millions more who won’t stand for religious bigotry. This holiday season, Americans should boycott hate. Lowe’s has taken the side of the bigots. I’m encouraging our members, and all liberty-loving Americans, to take their business elsewhere until Lowe’s rejects extremism and reinstates its advertising on ‘All-American Muslim.’

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