Islamic hardliners in Indonesia and Malaysia want Muslims to boycott Starbucks because of its support of LGBTI issues.
The global coffeehouse chain has long promoted diversity. It was comments by its then-CEO Howard Schultz made in 2013 that annoyed the hardliners
On Sunday ultra-nationalist group Pribumi Perkasa Malaysia called on Muslims not to go to Starbucs.
‘Perkasa urges Muslims in this country to boycott Starbucks because this United States-based international coffee chain supports LGBT and same-sex marriage,’ said Perkasa’s Islamic affairs bureau chief Amini Amir Abdullah in a statement.
‘Perkasa also urges the government to reevaluate the trading licence given to companies that support same-sex marriages and LGBT.’
The statement came just a day after Anwar Abbas of Indonesian Islamic group Muhammadiyah said Starbucks should have its business licence revoked.
‘If Starbucks only does business, then fine. But don’t bring ideology here,’ Abbas told Reuters.
What Starbucks said to rile people up
Despite Starbucks’ long history of supporting the LGBTI community it was comments made in 2013 that set off the latest boycott calls in the two countries.
Howard Schultz who is now chairman of the company told anti-gay shareholders to sell their shares if they did not like the company’s pro-LGBTI stance.
‘Not every decision is an economic decision. Despite the fact that you recite statistics that are narrow in time, we did provide a 38% shareholder return over the last year,’ Schultz said at the time.
‘Having said that, it is not an economic decision to me. The lens in which we are making that decision is through the lens of our people.
‘We employ over 200,000 people in this company, and we want to embrace diversity. Of all kinds.’
It’s not just Islamists who boycott Starbucks
Schultz’s comments in 2013 came after the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) started a boycott of the coffee giant. The NOM did not like its support of marriage equality.
The Christian group started a petition urging people to boycott the company.
‘Corporations should not take sides in a culture war that pits a company against half the American people and nearly all its consumers in some international markets,’ said NOM president Brian Brown at the time.
The NOM also launched an advertising campaign in the US, Middle East and Southeast Asia.
‘Starbucks may have been hoping that what happens in Seattle stays in Seattle, but we are going to make sure Starbucks customers, not only here but worldwide, know that drinking a cup of Starbucks coffee promotes gay marriage,’ said Brown.