Muslim activists are calling Lowe’s decision to pull sponsorship of the TLC television series “All-American Muslim” ads bigotry. Butterball angered many Americans when customer service agents confirmed that all Thanksgiving turkeys had been slaughtered according to halal methods. What is an American corporation to do in response to America’s competing cultural conflicts? Does America have a culture to which companies should be expected to conform?
At the heart of the matter is whether America still recognizes a core culture - or if catering to multiculturalism has rendered impotent America’s ability to define its own identity. Long known as a “melting pot,” America has an exemplary record of assimilating immigrants. But that was before we decided to deconstruct the pot and just melt.
First consider the predicament of Butterball. The company got into trouble when front-line agents answering customer service lines claimed that all whole turkeys sold in America for Thanksgiving were prepared for market by using Muslim codified “halal methods.” Whether Butterball was responding to pressure from a group that constitutes less than 3 percent of the population or the vague statement was mere political correctness, the fact is that the episode ended with this unequivocal statement from the corporate office’s public relations firm: “Our domestic products are not halal certified. Rather, a segment of Butterball’s products for export to specific countries follow the USDA guidelines for halal products and are subsequently labeled and certified as halal.”
The news that Americans were concerned, then alarmed, then angry seemed to baffle Butterball operators. The “teachable moment” here should be that the indignation many feel over this event rises not from bigotry, but from a growing frustration with companies and agencies that acquiesce to the demands of activist organizations working to limit the choices of individual Americans. The politically aggressive contingent of Islamists that agitate for such symbolic accommodations is responsible for putting a growing number of Americans on alert.
When it comes to the traditional Thanksgiving dinner - or any meal for that matter - Americans would prefer to invoke God’s blessing or no blessing at all over the family meal rather than know that all meat purchased had a perfunctory "Bismillahi Allahu Akbar" (“In the name of Allah, Allah is great”) chanted over it.