Malaysia, Indonesia Muslim groups call for Starbucks boycott over coffee chain’s LGBT support

Starbucks is brewing up controversy along with its coffee in some if its Southeast Asian locales.

Muslim organizations in Malaysia and Indonesia are calling for a boycott of the coffee giant because of its support for LGBT issues.

Ironically, this comes just six months after the company’s CEO announced that they intended to hire 10,000 refugees from Muslim-dominate countries.

The Associated Press reported:

Malaysian group Perkasa, which supports a hard-line form of Islam and nationalism, this week called on its more than 500,000 members to stay away from Starbucks coffee shops. This week and last, leaders of Indonesia’s second largest mainstream Muslim group, Muhammadiyah, with an estimated 29 million members, denounced the chain.


In addition to the boycott, Perkasa called upon the Malaysian government to revoke the trading licenses of the restaurant chain, along with those of other U.S. companies whose management support gay rights, such as Microsoft and Apple Computer.

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“Our objection is because they are promoting something that is against human instinct, against human behavior and against religion,” Amini Amir Abdullah, Perkasa’s Islamic affairs bureau chief, told Reuters in a video interview. “That’s why we are against it.”

The objection has been percolating for four years — prompted by a 2013 statement by former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announcing his support for gay rights. The AP reported:

Sodomy is illegal in Malaysia and punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Homosexuality is not illegal in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, but a case before the Constitutional Court is seeking to criminalize gay sex and sex outside of marriage.

The Washington Examiner contacted current Starbucks management for reaction.

“Though we are founded in the United States, we are a global company with over 300,000 partners and 26,000 stores in 75 markets around the world,” a Starbucks spokesperson told the Examiner. “In all countries where we do business, we are proud to be a part of the fabric of the local community, and we strive to be respectful of local customs and traditions while staying true to Starbucks long-standing values and purpose.”

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Hiring thousands of Muslims while supporting LGBT issues presented an interesting dichotomy to observers.

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Shortly after Starbucks announced its plan to hire 10,000 refugees, competitor Black Rifle Coffee Company said it was going to hire 10,000 veterans.


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