As someone who works in the field of promoting interfaith dialogue on Islam in America, I can tell you it has been a hectic couple of weeks. When Lowe’s Home Improvement decided to pull its ads from TLC’s new reality show “All American Muslim,”they sparked a national crisis over Islamophobia in America. But crisis is the wrong word. I prefer opportunity. I say opportunity for two reasons.
One, the Lowe’s debacle has already proven that the Muslim community is well organized, ready to respond, and even able to lead a movement thatgarners support from acclaimed entertainers and public figures such as Sen. Ted Lieu and Russell Simmons. In fact, more than 32 congressional representatives have publicly called on Lowe’s to re-instate advertising on the TLC show.
Secondly, the controversy has shown that interfaith dialogue, relationship building between faith groups, and coalition building when there is no crisis, really does pay off. As Eboo Patel, author of “Acts of Faith,” has rightly pointed out, the future of religious pluralism will be decided by the success or failure of two groups: religious pluralists or religious totalitarians.