Malay nationalist group urges Muslims to boycott Starbucks over LGBT support

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Source: Asian Correspondent

Customers sit outside of a Starbucks cafe in Jakarta, Indonesia July 1, 2017. Source: Reuters/Agoes

FAR-RIGHT, ethnic nationalist group Pribumi Perkasa Malaysia has echoed calls by Indonesian Muslims to boycott Starbucks and other western companies over their public support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.

“Perkasa urges Muslims in this country to boycott Starbucks because this United States-based international coffee chain supports LGBT and same-sex marriage,” said spokesman Amini Amir Abdullah in a statement, as quoted by the Malay Mail Online.

Coming just a day after similar calls from a senior Muhammadiyah figure in Indonesia, Amini said his statement was spurred by reports that Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz supports same-sex marriage.

After the US Supreme Court ruled in support of marriage equality in June 2015, Starbucks released a statement which said “Being open, inclusive and forward-thinking is at the core of what Starbucks is about. Starbucks has been a longtime advocate for the LGBT community and marriage equality.”

“Perkasa also urges the government to re-evaluate the trading licence given to companies that support same-sex marriages and LGBT,” said Amini, reflecting similar calls from Anwar Abbas in Indonesia.

Perkasa espouses “Malay rights” which it says are being eroded by ethnic Chinese and Indians, and has been branded a fascist group by some of its opponents.

Starbucks is widely popular in both Muslim-majority countries, operating 260 stores in Indonesia and 226 in Malaysia. Homosexuality is stigmatised in both nations, however is not illegal in Indonesia.

A spokesperson for parent company PT Sari Coffee Indonesia told Reuters on Saturday that Starbucks “always obeys the prevailing regulations and appreciates the cultural values in Indonesia. We also value the religious background of our customers and employees.”

Malaysia’s Health Ministry recently caused controversy when it advertised a video competition to promote anti-LGBT messages to young people to “prevent homosexuality” as part of a “healthy lifestyle.”