Thursday, July 6, 2017
Muslim groups in Malaysia and Indonesia have called for a boycott of Starbucks because of the coffee chain's support for LGBT rights
Malaysian group Perkasa, which supports a hard-line form of Islam and nationalism, has called on its more than 500,000 members to stay away from Starbucks coffee shops. Recently, leaders of Indonesia's second largest mainstream Muslim group, Muhammadiyah, with an estimated 29 million members, denounced the chain. The groups were apparently reacting to comments made several years ago by former CEO Howard Schultz in support of gay rights that drew renewed attention amid an increasingly anti-LGBT climate in both of the predominantly Muslim countries. At a 2013 shareholders meeting, Schultz responded to a shareholder who thought the coffeemaker's support for gay marriage hurt the bottom line: "Not every decision is an economic decision," Schultz said. "The lens in which we are making that decision is through the lens of our people.” Perkasa said in a statement that the Malaysian government should revoke the trading license given to Starbucks and other companies such as Microsoft and Apple that support LGBT rights and same-sex marriage. Amini Amir Abdullah, who heads Perkasa's Islamic affairs bureau, said that Muslims should stay away from Starbucks because its pro-gay rights policy is against Islam and Malaysia's constitution. 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.