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Malaysian and Indonesian Muslim consumers urged to boycott Starbucks

Muslims in Malaysia and Indonesia are reportedly asked to boycott Starbucks by Islamic group heads, on grounds that the coffee chain is pro-gay rights, according to reports on AFP. This comes amid growing concerns over rising religious conservatism in both nations.

In Malaysia, this week, Malay rights group Pribumi Perkasa Malaysia called on Muslims nationwide to boycott Starbucks over a four year-old quote by its then chief executive supporting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, reported The Malay Mail. 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 was losing customers due to the firm’s stance on LGBT.

Starbucks Malaysia could not be reached at the of writing.

The statement was made just a day after Muslim hardliners in Indonesia made the same call. It also called the government to “re-evaluate the trading licence given to companies that support same-sex marriages and LGBT”.

The AFP report also quoted leaders from Indonesia’s second biggest mass Muslim organisation, Muhammadiyah, urging the government now to revoke Starbuck’s business licence for its stance on LGBT issues. AFP also reported that a Muhammadiyah group leader also urged Muslims not to drink in Starbucks “so that the income is not used to strengthen LGBT campaigns”.

Anwar Abbas, Muhammadiyah’s head of economic affairs, told AFP that the “ideology, business and view” that Starbucks supports are different from theirs.

Most recently in Singapore, a Pink Dot event also drew a fair bit of controversy.  The event this year drew in 120 local sponsors. This was a staggering increase compared to the five local sponsors from last year. The move came after the local government banned foreign companies from taking part or showing their support for the event.

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