Lowe's Backlash: Conservative Christian Group Behind Ad Pullout Not Backing Down

PHOTO: The Jaafar family fatured on TLCs "All-American Muslims."PlayAdam Rose/TLC
WATCH Lowe's Pulls Ad From Show About Muslim Americans

The conservative Christian group that pressured Lowe's Home Improvement to pull its ads from a Muslim television show has had its website hacked and has received 1,800 furious and often threatening emails, its founder said today.

The Florida Family Association campaigned against TLC's show "All-American Muslims," and pressured companies not to advertise during the program.

The group's website was hacked by the international hacking group "Anonymous" on Monday night, angering the group's executive director David Caton who called the hackers "terrorists."

"I think this proves the point that we're trying to make that there's a terrorist response to the ideology of free speech in America as it relates to values on the Christian side of the spectrum," Caton told ABCNews.com today. "I've probably gotten close to 1,800 emails, most of which are calling me the worst of names and threatening me."

The TLC show follows five American-Muslim families in Dearborn, Mich., a town with a large Muslim-American population.

Caton believes that the show does not accurately represent the Muslim population by portraying "only the good side and not the bad."

"This is the first program that attempts to show Muslims in one manner and ignore the radical leadership," Caton said. "It gives a false impression and that subtle propaganda changes peoples' minds and softens peoples' attitudes."

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has been at the forefront of fighting back against the Florida group and Lowe's decision to pull its ads.

"They're part of the 1 percent of intolerance in America and we're part of the 99 percent," Dawud Walid, the executive director of the Michigan chapter of CAIR, told ABCNews.com. "And Lowe's, unfortunately, gave in to that 1 percent of fringe hate in America."

Lowe's decision sparked public outrage and calls to boycott the company.

A MoveOn.org campaign with an original goal of 5,000 signatures had over 25,000 signatures as of Tuesday afternoon.

Walid said the situation has touched on a nerve that many people

"I think people are beginning to see the irrational nature of the Islama-phobic movement," Walid said. "That Lowe's capitulated to bigotry because a reality show is not showing so-called extremists really struck people as ridiculous, especially Americans that have had contact or have regular contact with American Muslims."

In addition to consumers, celebrities have gotten into the battle, most prominently Russell Simmons, who is the chairman for the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding.

Simmons has publicly denounced Lowe's through frequent tweets over the past few days, writing, "U endorse hate. U may be held accountable we will promote a boycott if they don't reinstate campaign and apologise."

On Monday afternoon, Simmons tweeted, "I am putting my money where my mouth is," and shortly after, he tweeted again, "Just purchased remaining spots for #allamericanmuslim for next week The show is now sold out! keep your money @lowes and we will keep ours."

Walid and Caton disagree on their interpretations of Simmons' involvement.

"[Simmons is] a pop culture icon and he has influence, not only on people in the hip-hop movement, but with entertainers," Walid said. "It's huge that someone of his stature has weighed in on the side of civility against the position of Lowe's."

When asked his thoughts on Simmons buying the remaining ad space, Caton said, "I'm glad he did it. It makes my job easier. He's basically lost the battle by doing this because he is basically conceding defeat."

Both Caton and Walid argue that the dispute is not a religious battle -- as some have suggested -- although for different reasons.

"I see it as a conflict between those who promote the American values of inclusion and diversity with those who seek to promulgate intolerance," said Walid.

Caton maintains that his problem is with what he sees as an inaccurate television portrayal.

"I don't find any problem with most of the characters represented on the show," Caton said. "I would jump for joy if the leadership, the clerics and the imams of all American mosques were like this. I would be doing cartwheels. But that's just not the case."

In a statement posted on Facebook, Lowe's apologized to anyone they may have upset by their actions.

"We believe it is best to respectfully defer to communities, individuals and groups to discuss and consider such issues of importance," the company said. "We strongly support and respect the right of our customers, the community at large, and our employees to have different views."

The Facebook statement elicited over 22,000 replies as of Tuesday afternoon. The majority of the comments were negative.