Have you heard of the Florida Family Association?

Not linking because I don’t want to, as my Abrahamic brothers and sisters might say, ‘get their schmutz‘ all over my blog.

When you hear about people writing letters or e-mails to a company (Disney, Mars) because they’re “promoting” homosexuality or Islamic Sharia Law, you’re most likely reading a campaign initiated by the Florida Family Association. Recently, the FFA succeeded in getting Lowe’s to pull advertising from TLC’s new show “All American Muslim,” because:

Clearly this program is attempting to manipulate Americans into ignoring the threat of jihad and to influence them to believe that being concerned about the jihad threat would somehow victimize these nice people in this show.

I may be super sensitive, but here’s what I read:

Clearly this program is trying to demonstrate that these people are real human beings like you and me and that kind of bullshit is going to seriously deter our plans of sending their children to gas chambers.

Dramatic?  Maybe. I’m not making light of the Holocaust here… I’m serious.  I see stuff like this and I get worried.

Humor me while I tell you something that you might know already.

Jihad doesn’t mean “holy war.”  It means “struggle.”

I wear a headscarf, now.  Like a scarf.  On my head.  That other people can see. I do this only because I am Muslim. Okay, I also do it a tiny bit because I’m too tired to blow dry my hair, but too vain to own that. Shh, let’s keep that to ourselves.

I walk outside into Memphis, Tennessee where quite often not a single other person is wearing anything remotely similar.  Most people stare at me. I look them right in the eye, hold my head up high, smile as warmly as possible and I say, “Hello, How are you doing?!”  But, like the song says, what I’m really saying is “I love you.”

Wearing the scarf is not a jihad for me. Having compassion for the heart of the person that is staring at me is my jihad.

Getting offended is easy, engaging in an act of friendship when you see fear in another person’s eyes is a struggle. This is why I didn’t wear a hijab (that’s Muslim for ‘headscarf’) for many years.  While I’ve always had the courage to be different, I’ve not always had the courage to be compassionate to those who were affronted by difference.

When people protested about the “ground zero” mosque, there were well reasoned rationalizations for why they protested.  I gave people a safe place to openly discuss that. I listened.

Then, when the guy in Florida threatened to burn a Quran, I said, oh come on, don’t give that guy any attention, he’s just a crazy seeking the limelight… look over here at all the goodness.

And then the French banned the wearing of face veils, and I patiently sided with my sisters and explained the veil in its proper context.

After that, Muslim families were asked to leave planes for looking too Muslim and, honestly,I kind of shut down after that. Because hi, home, hit too close to.

Now, a company will not advertise on a program called “All American Muslim” because  some fringey group in Florida thinks it’s a bid for marketing Islamic Shariah and, oh, let’s just tack on it does not meet the level of programming that “Sister Wives” does.

I don’t like the show all that much and I’ve discussed that it’s not entirely representative of Muslims. If Lowe’s had decided to stop advertising because the show was stupid, that’s okay. But that’s not why they stopped.  And that is not okay.

It took me a while to write about this because I’m tired of writing about this.  I also feel that many will assume that I’m just speaking up for my own, when I’m speaking up for all of us.

For you and me… so that we don’t become something terrible and tragic. I seem dramatic, because, well it is dramatic.

Still.  I have faith.

We’re all going to do what we can.

I’ve e-mailed Lowe’s, signed a petition, written this post and smiled at people.

Do you mind sharing with each other what you’re going to do?

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