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Lowe's stands by decision to pull ads from 'All-American Muslim'

Lowe's said Monday it would stick by its decision to yank ads from a reality TV show about American Muslims, but apologized if its actions raised questions about the company's commitment to diversity.

"We have a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, and we are proud of that longstanding commitment. If we have made anyone question that commitment, we apologize," Lowe's spokeswoman Julie Yenichek said in a statement emailed to the Observer.

Opposition to the Mooresville-based company's move mounted Monday around the country. A Charlotte Muslim leader also said the decision by the Mooresville-based company reflects poorly on the Charlotte area.

Lowe's pulled the ads from TLC's "All-American Muslim" after the show became a "lightning rod for people to voice complaints from a variety of perspectives - political, social and otherwise." Lowe's says "dozens" of other advertisers also pulled their advertising.

Jibril Hough, a spokesman for the Islamic Center of Charlotte, said he was disappointed in Lowe's decision.

"I believe in the free market. They have a right not to advertise on a show that has Muslims on it," said Hough. "But people have a right not to do business with Lowe's if they make a decision based on bigotry."

Hough added that the move comes at a particularly poor time, as the city starts gearing up for the Democratic National Convention next year.

On Twitter, actor Kal Penn is directing people to a petition on signon.org in support of "All-American Muslim." By Monday afternoon, there were about 9,200 signatures.

Democratic state Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Detroit, the first Muslim elected to the Michigan Legislature, wrote Lowe's CEO Robert Niblock.

"I told them I was extremely disappointed that you give credibility to these hate groups," Tlaib said.

"All-American Muslim" premiered last month and chronicles the lives of five families who live in and near Dearborn, Mich., a Detroit suburb with a large Muslim and Arab-American population.

TLC spokeswoman Laurie Goldberg said "All-American Muslim," which ends its first season on Jan. 8, has a little over a million viewers per week.

To read the complete article, visit www.charlotteobserver.com.

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