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In Year of Anti-Muslim Vitriol, Brands Promote Inclusion
by Sapna Maheshwari
The gentle piano music starts as the doorbell chimes. A white-haired Christian pastor greets his friend, a Muslim imam, and the two converse and laugh over a cup of tea, wincing about their creaky knees as they prepare to part ways. Later, it spurs the same idea in each for a gift: kneepads sent via Amazon Prime. (It is a commercial, after all.)
The piano notes accelerate as the men open their deliveries with smiles, and then each uses the item to kneel in prayer: one at a church, the other at a mosque. The final chords fade.
The ad from Amazon and its message of interfaith harmony became a viral sensation this holiday season, at the end of a year in which talk involving Muslims became particularly ominous. Amazon — which aired the commercial in England, Germany and the United States — cast a practicing vicar and Muslim community leader in the lead roles and consulted with several religious organizations to ensure the ad was accurate and respectful.
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