Arab Nonprofit Network Refuses Lowe’s Donations, Plan To Protest

DEARBORN (WWJ/AP) – A network of 22 Arab-American nonprofits says its members will no longer accept donations from Lowe’s after the home improvement chain stopped advertising during a reality TV show about U.S. Muslims.

Lowe’s stores donate money to several nonprofit organizations in support of community volunteer efforts.

But, the National Network for Arab American Communities and its Dearborn-based parent ACCESS recently announced the retailer’s decision to cut ads from TLC’s “All-American Muslim” contradicts their values and they will no longer be accepting their donations.

Minnesota U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, California state Sen. Ted Lieu and others have criticized Lowe’s decision. Executives with the Mooresville, N.C.-based company say the show became a “lightning rod for people to voice complaints.”

Lowe’s move came after the conservative Christian group the Florida Family Association’s email campaign asking companies to pull their ads.

Dawud Walid, spokesman for CAIR-MI (Council on American Islamic Relations), told WWJ his organization is “utterly shocked by Lowe’s decision.”

“They don’t have a backbone as an organization and really how they depend more on the business of bigots than they do on civil and right-minded people and they’ll have to suffer the consequences for that,” said Walid.

Meantime, a coalition of Christian, Muslim and civil rights groups is planning a demonstration Saturday outside a Lowe’s store in Allen Park to protest the home improvement chain’s decision.

The interfaith group said the protest is “in response to Lowe’s succumbing to pressure from anti-Muslim bigots by pulling their ads.”

Groups announcing support for the demonstration include the African American Ministers Leadership Council, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the People for the American Way Foundation.

State Representative Rashida Tlaib, a Detroit Democrat and the first Muslim woman elected to the Michigan Legislature, also is backing the protest.

“All-American Muslim” chronicles five families in and near the Detroit suburb with large Muslim and Arab populations.

TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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