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We’ve had a lot of discussion the last few days about marketing to Muslims, and the passions - as well as the biases and prejudices, quite frankly - that the issue raises among people all over the country.

To be honest, my intention today was to sort of less things cool for a bit. When emotions run too hot, I often think that it makes sense to take a deep breath...and I can allow that to happen here simply by taking a day off from emails, at least from those about this particular subject.

However...one of the things that I said yesterday was that I know very little about Islam and don’t, to the best of my knowledge, know any Muslims. I suspect that I have this in common with many Americans. And I refuse to slap labels on all Muslims based on the actions of a few, just as I would hope that I would necessarily be labeled as any one thing just because of the demographic groups that I may be a part of.

But then I got the following email:

I am a proud Muslim AMERICAN. It always amazes me when people make claims of Islam encouraging violence and hatred. These people obviously do not know much about Islam outside of what the 700 Club and Fox News report.

A few times these people have gotten into arguments with me also, since they would obviously know more about my religion than me….definitely possible but unlikely.

As a practicing Muslim, I want ! you to know that Islam does not encourage violence or hatred. Every time a terrorist does something stupid, Muslim Americans pray that it is not a Muslim person that will bring further damage to our religion. So when people say things like, Islam is violence, I can understand why someone would say this if they wanted to make a broad generalization…. but what good do broad generalizations do? How often are broad stereotypes accurate of extremely large groups? In regards to the question of why do you not hear condemnations from Muslim leaders in the US? Islam does not have many “public leaders”. As a practicing Muslim I can’t name one. Many of our mosques are led by local Imams who have other full-time jobs. Why do you not hear condemnations from Muslim leaders all the time? Understanding that much of the Muslim world sees the casualties of unjust wars where many innocent civilians are killed has something to do with it. Could it also be a question of condemnations from Muslim leaders abroad not being covered by the media?

I could go on forever about this but just want to close with saying this -- by being an individual who is in the religious minority…certain situations allow me to have extreme levels of pride because I live in such a great country. Where else in the world will a country go out of its way to treat its minorities as equals in so many ways? Where else in the world will corporations and individuals go out of their way to create inclusive environments for minorities? Only in a great country like America....I am proud to be an American-born Muslim.


That was one of two emails I got yesterday from people who said they were Muslims. Here was the other, from MNB user Amber Khan, referring specifically to the controversy generated when Publix handed out a calendar identifying December 7, 2010, as the beginning of the Islamic New Year and not as Pearl Harbor Day.

As a Muslim, I am sick of hearing about this stupid calendar. Can you please stop reporting on it?

It isn’t the calendar that interests me at this point. It is the window we are getting on people’s beliefs and emotions, which provides us with both cultural and business insights.

So I’m not quite ready to walk away from this discussion yet.




On another subject, though it sort of relates to painting with a broad brush, we had a couple of different reactions to a statement I made yesterday comparing New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has been extremely aggressive about health and wellness initiatives that put limits on things like trans fats and smoking, with Robert Moses, who essentially shaped the city’s physical infrastructure, for better and for worse, decades ago.

One MNB user wrote:

Bloomberg a man ahead of his time? That's laughable! He is the ultimate "nanny" whether you like it or not and you my friend are just one more liberal journalist in a land of many!!

Well, at least you think of me as a friend.

And MNB user Don Longo wrote:

No doubt Bloomberg will have a lasting legacy on New York, but like Robert Moses, not all of it will be good. Moses, you may recall, is the man primarily responsible for driving the Dodgers out of Brooklyn.

True.
KC's View: