Malaysia Mus­lims boy­cott Star­bucks over LGBT stance

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

Mus­lims in In­done­sia and Malaysia were urged to boy­cott Star­bucks yes­ter­day by ma­jor Is­lamic groups ac­cus­ing the cof­fee chain of be­ing pro-gay rights, as con­cerns grow over ris­ing re­li­gious con­ser­vatism in both na­tions. Lead­ers from Muham­madiyah, In­done­sia's sec­ond big­gest mass Mus­lim or­ga­ni­za­tion, also urged the gov­ern­ment to re­voke the com­pany's busi­ness li­cence for its stance on les­bian, gay, bi­sex­ual and trans­gen­der (LGBT) is­sues. "The ide­ol­ogy, busi­ness and view that they sup­port are against our ide­ol­ogy," An­war Ab­bas, Muham­madiyah's head of eco­nomic af­fairs, told AFP.

An­other Muham­madiyah leader, Yu­na­har Ilyas, said the group was call­ing on "Mus­lims to not drink in Star­bucks so that the in­come is not used to strengthen LGBT cam­paigns". Star­bucks In­done­sia did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to AFP re­quests for com­ment. The firm is among a slew of US com­pa­nies to have spo­ken up against dis­crim­i­na­tion in the US, with rep­re­sen­ta­tives sign­ing a let­ter to North Carolina's Repub­li­can gov­er­nor protest­ing leg­is­la­tion tar­get­ing trans­gen­der peo­ple last year.

Hard­lin­ers and Is­lamic groups have led a grow­ing back­lash against In­done­sia's LGBT com­mu­nity over the past year, which ac­tivists be­lieve was trig­gered by wide­spread me­dia cov­er­age of a de­ci­sion in the United States to le­gal­ize same-sex mar­riage. The group Pribumi Perkasa Malaysia this week also called on the gov­ern­ment to "re-eval­u­ate the trad­ing li­cense given to com­pa­nies that sup­port same-sex mar­riages and LGBT," spokesman Amini Amir Ab­dul­lah said in a state­ment.

The Mus­lim lead­ers said con­cerns about Star­bucks arose af­ter read­ing Star­bucks chair­man's com­ment when tack­ling a share­holder's com­plaint in 2013 that the com­pany were los­ing cus­tomers due to the firm's stance on LGBT. At the time, Chair­man Howard Schultz­man, then the chief ex­ec­u­tive, re­sponded by ask­ing the share­holder to sell the shares. Ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity has long been taboo in Malaysia, where 60 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion is Mus­lim, and where sodomy is a crime pun­ish­able by up to 20 years in prison. — AFP

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