Recently, social and alternative media were abuzz with the claim that Home Depot had caved in to Islamic pressure and had trained it’s employees at Home Depot’s Dearborn, Michigan location in Islamic law, or Sharia. You’ve no doubt seen it. The claim originated from a so-called press release, actually a blurb of recent activities, posted to the website of CAIR’s Michigan office. CAIR is the Council on American-Islamic Relations and was considered an un-named coconspirator in the Holy Land Foundation criminal trial. I can’t say I am fond of CAIR or it’s generally mouthy and belligerent representatives, but I thought there must be more to this incident that met the eye. (There always is.)
I reached out to Home Depot personally and asked for an explanation and an official statement for the purposes of this article. When I made contact, I asked if there was a precipitating incident that caused the necessity for the training provided to its employees. They claim there was not. In fact, the training was not at the behest of CAIR at all. The management staff of the Dearborn, MI location requested this cultural training so that the store associates can better serve the customers in the area. Dearborn boasts the largest concentration of Arab-Americans in the United States with a full third of the citizens being of Arab descent. A third of those are immigrants to this country. This training seminar occurred only at this one store location.
At the store’s request, CAIR provided cultural awareness training to some of the store employees, probably management staff. Only certain employees attended the seminar. The training was not about Sharia law but rather about cultural sensitivities that concern the Arab-American community. In essence, this fear of Islamic rule over a city in our country is based in fantasy, not reality. It is no different than the cultural awareness training our military and other government officials receive prior to arriving at a duty station OCONUS. (Outside Continental U.S.) Below is the official statement provided to me by Home Depot’s Headquarters.
SUBJECT: Dearborn, Michigan – sensitivity training Ref#53640632 (KMM27281559V38096L0KM)
Dear Ross Elder,
Thank you for sharing your concerns regarding this recent Diversity
training incident. It’s not unusual for stores to tailor their
communications efforts to the local culture. A large number of our
customers in Dearborn, MI are Arab Americans, so this was a
well-intended effort by this one store to promote good customer service,
not Sharia Law.
The Home Depot appreciates your feedback, and believes again this was
only meant to be a well-intended effort by this one store to provide
good customer service in this community. We hope you can continue to
make us your Home Improvement store despite this incident.
The Home Depot Store Support Center
2455 Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta,GA 30339 B/3
Phone Number 1-800-654-0688
And there you have it. Sharia Law has not infected a major global corporation; employees of that organization are not being forced to abide by Islamic law; and Dearborn, MI isn’t planning to secede from the Union and form it’s own Islamic Republic along the Michigan/Ohio border. Hopefully, this will alleviate some of the Islamophobia surrounding the issue but, honestly, I don’t think it will. People who propose, promote, perpetuate, and believe these myths generally do not listen to reason or facts. They listen only to those who share their beliefs. None of them will ever read this particular article. It is sad. We have so much worth worrying about. If we could just get people to worry about the right things, we might actually improve this place we call America.