Choice Hotels, one of the nation’s largest hotel chains, has joined a growing list of companies that have stopped advertising and refused to place their ads on Michael Savage’s radio program called Savage Nation. Last year, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on listeners of all faiths to contact Savage’s advertisers and express their concern about the host’s anti-Muslim bigotry and insensitivity. Hotel _brands’ operated by Choice Hotels include Quality Inn, Comfort Suits, Clarion, Econo Lodge, and several others.
A UK group launched an ad campaign on Monday aimed at countering negative stereotypes about Muslims in the wake of the July 7, 2005 suicide bombings in London. Islam-is-Peace bought advertising for London buses and Underground trains showing Muslims in a range of professions, including a policewoman and the chef Michael Barry, with the slogan Proud to be a British Muslim. The group formed after four UK radical Muslims blew themselves up, killing themselves and 52 commuters on three London Underground trains and a bus.
Consumer companies and advertising executives are focusing on new ways to reach out to Muslim consumers in the United States. Grocers and consumer product companies are considering ways to adapt to Muslim dietary prescriptions, including the concern over the use of gelatin and pig fat often used in food, cosmetics, and cleaning products. Retailers are looking to provide more conservative skirts – not just in the colder months, but in summer too, hoping to appeal to Muslim women conscious of modest apparel. Companies in the Detroit area, with one of the largest Muslim populations in the country, are making some visible changes in their stores. A McDonald’s there serves halal Chicken McNuggets, the Walgreens has signs in both English and Arabic, and the local Ikea has been touring local homes and talking to Muslims to figure out their needs. In other cities, stores like Macy’s and Whole Foods, are the increasing number of Muslim-owned companies and media outlets, are allowing some Muslims to feel increasingly validated, and a bit less othered.