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Kayak apologizes for ‘All-American Muslim’ flap

The travel booking site Kayak.com, under fire for pulling its ads from the TLC cable series All-American Muslim after a conservative Florida activist group attacked the reality show as Islamic propganda, has issued an apology headlined “we handled this poorly.”

The mea culpa comes amid a continuing backlash against an earlier decision by the home improvement chain Lowe’s to yank their own ads from the eight-episode series, which follows the daily lives of several families in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, Mich.

Kayak’s move has been greeted by an angry stream of tweets and Facebook posts. But in the company’s explanation of why it discontinued its supprt , chief marketing officer Hugo Birge insisted “we would not want anyone to think that we caved to hatred.”

After watching two episodes, writes Birge, “mostly, I just thought the show sucked.”

As USA TODAY’s Gary Levin points out, the series “has not proved a hit, even by TLC standards, and could use the attention stoked by the controversy. Sunday’s episode drew 908,000 viewers, down from the 1.7 million who tuned in for its Nov. 13 premiere.”

“This is our opportunity to show the world that we’re just (like) any other American family, but we embrace our faith and our culture differently than what people may view as the norm,” participant Suehaila Amen said last August, describing her interest in appearing in the show. The finale airs Jan. 8.

But the Florida Family Association, which claims 65 companies have agreed to remove their ads since Novemberm says the series is “propaganda clearly designed to counter legitimate and present-day concerns about many Muslims who are advancing Islamic fundamentalism and Sharia law.”

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