CAIRO - A recent uproar that followed the decision by a giant retail group to pull its ads from a reality TV show on American Muslims was regarded positively by Muslims as creating a positive dialogue about bigotry Muslims face from some Americans, Detroit Free Press reported on Friday, December 16.
I'm kind of glad it happened, said Nader Aoude, 32, a member of one of the featured families, along with his wife, Nawal, 25, who gave birth to the couple's first child on the show four months ago.
It's created a lot of dialogue and that's a positive.
A lot more people are becoming more informed. It has unified Americans to come together to recognize an injustice toward a certain group. . .that's a beautiful thing.
Uproar followed a decision by US advertising companies, including Lowe's, to pull their commercials airing during episodes of TLC's "All-American Muslim."
The reality show, All-American Muslim, is an eight-part series that began airing last November.
Focusing on Muslims in Dearborn, the producer said the program is a glimpse into a lifestyle with which most Americans are unfamiliar.
The move followed a campaign led by the Florida Family Association in which it urged companies to pull ads on All-American Muslim.
Following fierce campaigns against the show, the FFA contended that 65 of 67 companies it has targeted have pulled their ads.
These companies included Bank of America, the Campbell Soup Co., Dell, Estee Lauder, General Motors, Goodyear, Green Mountain Coffee, McDonalds, Sears, and Wal-Mart.
Following Lowe's decision to pull ads from the show, supporters launched an online campaign deriding Lowe's decision.
The campaign attracted some big-name supporters, including actress Mia Farrow, music mogul Russell Simmons - who vowed to buy any unsold commercial time left on the show.
Comedian Jon Stewart also joined supporters doing at least two spoofs on the controversy.
Aoude said Lowe's withdrawal opened the door for other advertisers.
A TLC spokesperson refused to discuss whether ads for the show are now sold out, despite reports in other media that all ads have sold out since the controversy erupted.
Nader said he has been pleased and surprised by all the support from the celebrity.
It's like, Wow; look who's supporting us, he said.
Showing America and the world what Muslim Americans are like, Aoude said that the controversy that surrounded the show helped in spreading the message.
This show does a good job of humanizing who we are as Americans who follow the Islamic faith, Aoude said.
It's been a great experience. We've had people come up to us thanking us. A lot of people tell us they enjoy the show. Everything has been positive.
Aoude, who works for the federal government, said since the show aired coworkers have seemed more comfortable talking with him about Islam and asking him questions.
For example, he said, a coworker said he didn't know Muslims say a form of grace before eating.
Also, when his son was born, Aoude read a call to prayer into his ear - a practice another co-worker didn't know about and likened it to a baby's Baptism in the Christian faith.
Watching his son proudly, Salah Auode, 62, a retired Ford technician said he's proud of his son for doing the show and hasn't paid much attention to the controversy.
Everybody has their own religion. Everybody prays the way they were taught, he said.
Commenting on the controversy raised by the Florida Family Association, the father said they need to learn more about Islam to dispel wrong believes about Muslims.
They probably don't have much knowledge about the religion, he said.
They need to study it more.
Auode said he has offered advice to his son regarding the show.
I told my son don't try to be something different from who you are, he said.