If there are two good examples of how social networking and a strong issue/cause is a match made in heaven, then it’s the “Arab Spring” — specifically the “We are Khalid Said” Facebook and Twitter mantra leading to the extraordinary events in Cairo’s Tahrir Square (and the downfall of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak) last spring — and now the surge of support for TLC’s “All-American Muslim” and the growing anger against Lowes, who pulled advertising from the show under pressure from anti-Muslim groups.
After a furious effort to get the word out via Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and online media, I just got the word that this anti-Lowes/anti-Islamophobia groups/anti-bigotry/pro-“All-American Muslim” campaign has really hit the big time (if there can be a bigger time than all the things that have happened up until now) – this story will be discussed on The Daily Show tonight.
A tweet from Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi stated that the story will be featured on tonight’s show. Now, things can change, and tweets can be wrong, but when the same new is reported on the homepage of The Daily Show website, then I’d say the news is true.
So tune in tonight (11 p.m. on Comedy Central); I’m eager to see what Mandvi (and Stewart) does with this.
Our Time is Now
I continue to be amazed with the pace and reach of social media. Tahrir Square has been the shinking example of how social media can be the medium of real change, and I see it happening again now with this issue, this moment here for American Muslims, for all Americans. A SignOn petition campaign (which is now a MoveOn front page campaign) started with a couple hundred signatures and has snowballed to more than 23,000 (as of this morning) signature-strong petition against Lowes and the practice of bigotry. The turning point, as I see it, was when key American Muslim activists took up the cause and got hip hop moghul Russell Simmons to come on board.
Now you’ve got Deepak Chopra, Kal Penn, Russell Simmons, Mia Farrow and scores of others tweeting about this, urging people to sign the petition and raise their voices. You’ve got mayors and U.S. representatives and state senators getting riled up about this. You’ve got major American-Muslim organizations like MPAC and CAIR pushing the cause. It’s quite amazing.
And why? Why is everyone caring about this now? Because, as Sami Elmansoury wrote in this blog a few days earlier, enough is enough:
So if there was ever a moment to say “enough” to those who continuously question how “American” you, I, or your neighbor is – I believe that this can be it. Now is the time to throw un-American, hate-mongering bigotry back into the hole from which it disturbingly emerges every few decades. We are all in this together as Americans — whether we are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Atheist – whomever we are, and whatever belief system we espouse. And, while we must strive to protect the homeland, together, we are one country.
This petition and the surrounding activism are only the beginning of an end, God willing, to this continuing absurdity. The next step will be upon our leaders, upon our politicians, upon our media, and upon all of us who continue to seek peaceful coexistence and American unity, to take back the microphone — and to put the bigots on notice.
The next step is now, it is happening, it is here. Are you on board?