The Latest Company Being Boycotted: Starbucks

Poolie is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Poolie is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Malaysian Muslims are boycotting Starbucks over their pro-LGBT views.

Hardline conservative Muslim groups in Indonesia and Malaysia urge their countrymen to boycott Starbucks[/tweetit] after the multi-national coffee chain publicly supported gay rights. The first boycott call was given by the Indonesian Anwar Abbas of the conservative Muslim organization Muhammadiyah. He alleged that the coffee company's pro-gay outlook can destroy the culture and religious underpinnings of Indonesia. The group's boycott call was supported by the Ulema Council. The latter is the country's apex clerical body.

The Latest Company Being Boycotted: Starbucks[/tweetthis]

Homosexuality is legal in Indonesia. The only exception is in its ultra-conservative Aceh province. It is seen, however, that intolerance towards the gay community has increased. Police raids on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender or LGBT community and groups have risen in this South East Asian nation.

The Indonesian call for Starbucks boycott has found an ally in Perkasa, a Malaysian Islamic group. This organization is primarily known for highlighting ethnic Malay Muslims' rights. In its public statement, Perkasa said that it agrees with Muhammadiyah when it comes to the issue of boycotting Starbucks over the company's pro-LGBT stand.

Anwar Abbas, whose organization commands the support of 30 million members, asked the Indonesian Government to revoke the operating license of Starbucks. To buttress his point, he said the company's explicit support for LGBT community is not in tandem with the ideology of the Indonesian nation. He warned the American company to do only business in the country and not to import any ideology from outside the country. The Malaysian Pekasa has agreed with Muhammadiyah's stance on Starbuck's license to be revoked.

Amini Amir Abdullah, the head of Islamic affairs in Perkasa, said that the stance adopted by Starbucks challenged the constitution of Malaysia. Islam is the official religion of this South East Asian nation. He said his group objected as the company is promoting something which goes “against the human instinct, against human behavior and against religion.”

The opposition of these religious groups to Starbucks stems from a 2013 dated video where the company officials made pro-LGBT comments. Howard Schultz, the then chief executive and chairman of the company, in the video, said that his company 'embraced diversity.' He reiterated that not every decision in the company should be an economic one. The statement was made as an answer to a shareholder complaining loss of revenues due to the organization's support for same-sex marriages.


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