December 17, 2011
Mr. Robert Niblock
Chairman, President and CEO
Lowe’s Home Improvement
1000 Lowe’s Boulevard
Mooresville, North Carolina 28117
Dear Mr. Niblock:
The Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress (NCRR) condemns Lowe’s Home Improvement’s retraction of its advertising on the TLC’s program called All-American Muslim and is angered by Lowe’s capitulation to the Florida Family Association’s ridiculous complaints that this television program “hides the Islamic agenda’s clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values.”
Our organization has built a relationship based on mutual understanding and support with the American Muslim community since September 11, 2001. Most of us did not know much about Islam but since then we have learned and come to respect their beliefs and traditions. We have shared food together during Ramadan and learned that it is not only the time to fast but to do good deeds in the broader community. We have learned that there are many similarities between Islam and the other Abrahamic faiths which are reflected in the strong interfaith community here in Los Angeles. It is apparent that both Lowe’s and the Florida Family Association know little about the true beliefs of Islam.
We too, as Japanese Americans, were not understood and, therefore, stigmatized and treated as the enemy during World War II. We had our own distinct culture and, while many in our community were Christian, there were also many of the Buddhist faith, which was also seen as a strange religion. Too few people took the time to get to know that our community was overwhelmingly loyal. Unfortunately, this country succumbed to fear and ignorance by incarcerating over 120,000 Japanese Americans (2/3 were citizens) in 1942, in violation of many constitutional rights. We believe that it is very critical to support programs that help the American public understand the American Muslim community so that this kind of injustice never happens again.
While we are all Americans, we are of different faiths and cultures which need to be understood and celebrated. Programs like All-American Muslim help eliminate ignorance and promote understanding of all the people that make up our country. On the other hand, Lowe’s actions have only added to an atmosphere of intolerance and Islamophobia. We urge you to ‘improve’ your own image by apologizing for offending not only the American Muslim community but all other Americans who understand that diversity is the beauty of this country and then by reinstating your advertisement on the All-American Muslim program.
Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress
Janice Iwanaga Yen