[Congressional Record Volume 157, Number 191 (Tuesday, December 13, 2011)]
[Page H8732]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                          ANTI-MUSLIM BIGOTRY

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from 
Connecticut (Mr. Murphy) for 5 minutes.
  Mr. MURPHY of Connecticut. Mr. Speaker, last week the giant home 
improvement chain Lowe's decided to pull their ads from a new show on 
The Learning Channel called ``All-American Muslim.''
  Now, this show depicts five Muslim American families of Lebanese 
descent from Dearborn, Michigan, and highlights how their faith affects 
their lives and their families.
  The show is aptly titled because it shows Muslim families to be 
exactly what they are in this situation, and millions like them around 
the Nation. They're Americans. They face problems just like the rest of 
us. The only difference is that they worship at a different church.

                              {time}  1010

  Lowe's pulled these ads because one right-wing anti-Muslim group in 
Florida said that the show hides the ``true agenda'' of Islam, which, 
according to this group, is to destroy America.
  Now, this kind of anti-Muslim bigotry isn't new. It seems like every 
month we're being warned by a new radical group about the creep of 
sharia law or that a peaceful mosque is being run out of a community or 
that a radical pastor is burning the Koran on television. It's one 
thing when a fringe group or a radical, unhinged pastor is doing it; 
but it's quite another when a Fortune 100 company is endorsing this 
  Lowe's defends itself by saying it's pulling these ads because some 
of their customers had ``strong political and social views on this 
topic.'' Well, congratulations to Lowe's for acknowledging that there 
are some really bigoted people in the world, but that doesn't mean that 
Lowe's or any other company should acquiesce to this kind of behavior. 
For instance, there are, unfortunately, a lot of people out there who 
still hold racist views about African Americans, but I don't think that 
that means Lowe's is going to be pulling its ads from television shows 
featuring African Americans.
  Lowe's also says it's sorry for walking into a ``hotly contested 
debate.'' Well, what debate are they talking about? Yes, we face 
threats from a fringe sect of radical, anti-American Islamists; but 
there is no debate that the millions of patriotic, peace-loving Muslims 
who live in this country have no connection to that movement and do 
nothing except strengthen the fabric of our Nation.
  Now, maybe you think this is just a minor sideshow and that Congress 
shouldn't be talking about it on this floor. I submit to you that 
you're dead wrong. This is a major American company that is rubber-
stamping basic, foundational bigotry against a major American religious 
group. This Nation was founded on the principle of religious freedom, 
and this body should never remain silent when a group of people is 
marginalized just because it worships a different God.
  Though we've certainly got more important things to worry about, like 
fixing the economy, it has traditionally been during bad economic times 
that this kind of social marginalization has been at its worst because 
people don't speak up against it. Further, this kind of bias endangers 
our national security. Denis McDonough, the President's deputy National 
Security Adviser, recently said that al Qaeda's core recruiting 
argument is that the West is at war with Islam. With this action, 
extremists can say, Look, we're already being run out of their 
neighborhoods. Now we're being run off of their television sets.
  This kind of anti-Muslim sentiment doesn't just endanger our Nation's 
soul; it endangers our national security. So here is my message for the 
folks at Lowe's who made the decision and, frankly, for anybody out 
there of sound mind who has considered getting behind this growing 
anti-Muslim bias:
  You're better than this. You know that the history of this country 
and of this world never, ever looks kindly on this kind of 
marginalization that you've endorsed with your actions. Whether it is 
against Irish Americans or Jewish Americans or African Americans, the 
history books make sure that this kind of exclusionary politics becomes 
a stain on the reputation of anyone who takes part in it.
  Today, I'm leading a group of Member of Congress, calling on Lowe's 
to reconsider its decision. Listen, we do have a lot to fear when it 
comes to Islamic groups that seek to do harm to America; but we have 
nothing to fear from a TV program called ``All-American Muslim,'' and 
we have nothing to fear from the tens of millions of peace-loving, 
patriotic Muslim Americans who are just like those who are portrayed in 
that show.
  This is America. While we have never been perfect at living up to our 
founding ideals, we've gotten pretty good at calling out bigotry when 
we see it and at stamping it out before its mark becomes indelible. 
This can be one of those moments.