NJ Muslims and supporters to hold Rally Against Bigotry and Hate

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For Immediate Release: NJ Muslims and supporters to hold Rally Against Bigotry and Hate, Friday, December 16, 2011-To fight for the soul of America and its endearing ideals of pluralism, fairness, equality and mutual respect. Lowe’s, an American company must rescind and apologize for its mistaken decision.

Contact: Aref Assaf, 973-960-2673

A broad coalition of over thirty organizations from across the diverse spectrum of the Muslim community, Muslims for a Better New Jersey, is planning to hold a “Rally Against Hate and Bigotry” at Lowe’s Paterson office. The location is 265 McLean Blvd. (RT 20N), Paterson, NJ, 07504. December 16, 2011, from 2 – 4 PM.

Well known extremist groups such as the Florida Family Association, have publically bragged about their role in forcing certain advertisers like Lowe’s, who pulled their commercials from a TLC show known as All American Muslim. The show started airing on November 13, 2011, chronicling the lives of five Muslim families in Dearborn, Michigan. By all accounts, the show attempts to show the often-misunderstood attitudes, customs, and beliefs of American Muslims.

Well, known right-wing extremist groups like the Florida Family Association, preeminent Islamophobes like Pamela Geller, and Internet Hate sites like “Bare Naked Islam” have all conspired against this show to promote fear and hatred of Muslims and Muslim Americans in particular.

It is most disturbing that a nationwide company such as Lowe’s would succumb to the bigoted appeals of these hate-filled groups and individuals. We appeal to the management of Lowe’s to reconsider its position on this matter. There is no rational explanation for removing their advertising from this show. The boring truth is the great majority of American Muslims are ‘average’ families concerned with trivial things such as marriage, kids, and football. Granted, some may disagree with themes in the program, including many American Muslims who believe that the show does not show the wonderful diversity of races and colors that the Muslim American community represents.

We will protest bigotry because it must never be practiced against any group, we will protest the xenophobic attitudes of extremists because America is a home for all its citizens”, said Dr. Aref Assaf, the lead coordinator for “Muslims for a Better New Jersey. Salaheddin Mustafa, another of the organizers of the coalition said “American Muslims are patriotic citizens and they are also consumers with an estimated $124 Billion in purchasing power. Lowe’s stands to lose the support of the American Muslim community as well as all our fellow citizens who stand against bigotry in any form.”

“Sadly corporations, such as Lowe’s, have succumbed to the smear campaigns by groups and organizations which lack credibility, legitimacy, and are founded on the basic notions of bigotry and racism reminiscent of a shameful era in this country’s history”. Said Mohamed Elfilali, Executive Director of the Islamic Center of Passaic County.

While this is a day to express our strong rejection of the attempts to divide our communities, it is also a day to celebrate the resolve of the American people to fight the curse of Islamophobia and racism in all its manifestation. We are truly thankful for the tremendous support received from so many public officials who issued public statements, introduced resolutions, or sent letters to Lowe’s headquarters and to those who are here with us today. We are thankful to all of you, over 50,000 thus far, who signed the online petitions condemning Lowe’s and the hate promoting organizations.

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