We received this review for our Exaplan planner the other day:
Rating: 1 stars
Review: “I loved your planner until I started filling out my dates and saw Muslim holidays listed. I have nothing against another nationality/religion, but in all good conscience I can not keep this with so many Americans dying at the hands of radicals from this religion – I am returning the book, and if it is not taken back by the store there will be several returned as being unsaleable due to damages. Sorry, as an American made product you should be more sensitive to something so horrendous – the product is wonderful – the choice of content really very despicable.”
Since these comments were submitted as a product review, I was unable to respond directly to this person. They did not include a name, town, or any contact information. However, if I could, this is what I would have told them…
Thank you for writing to us to express your views. We appreciate hearing from our customers whether they write or call to say we’re doing something wonderfully or awful. We pay attention to what each person has to say about our products or company.
As head of marketing, I was the executive who made the decision to include Muslim holidays in our planners. At the time of the change, only Jewish and Christian holidays appeared in our calendars. Given the changing demographics in the United States, especially in our urban areas, I decided to expand the list of holidays to include major Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu religious observances, and added additional Roman Catholic and Jewish holy days. We also included Chinese New Year and Cinco de Mayo, two holidays widely observed in the Chinese and Hispanic communities.
To date, I have received one other negative comment on the Muslim holidays; and one positive comment on including the Buddhist holidays.
While I understand your strong emotion surrounding all the Americans killed or wounded in the Iraqi conflict, and also victims of terrorism here at home, I cannot agree with your rationale to pull Muslim holidays from our date books because of the actions of some Islamic combatants overseas.
Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu holidays were added to our date books because an increasing number of American citizens and foreign nationals living, working or studying in our country belong to these faiths.
The Pew Research Center estimates the number of Muslims in the United States at 2.4 million. Of that number one-third are native born, the rest are immigrants. The native-born are mostly converts, many of whom are African-Americans.
Globalization, media, the internet and other influences have made us increasingly connected and sensitive to people beyond those we grew up knowing. Business people, parents, educators and others want to know all the major religious dates of their employees, students, and customers for scheduling meetings, travel, class work and testing, and other events and activities. Most people also appreciate being made aware of days important to friends, neighbors and extended family.
Finally, I relied on that old and honored American value: what is fair? What is fair, I believe, is to include everyone, rather than just one or two. I considered removing most religious references; but to do so would make a date book less meaningful and a much less useful tool for people who rely on it.
So I added holidays, hoping to make it a more useful tool for more people.
Vice President, Marketing