Indonesian Muslim leader urges boycott of pro-LGBT Starbucks

Muhammadiyah leader Anwar Abbas (Photo courtesy of Republika)
Muhammadiyah leader Anwar Abbas (Photo courtesy of Republika)

A leader of Indonesia’s second-largest Muslim organization has called for a boycott of the Starbucks coffee chain because of its LGBT-friendly policies.

As published in The Independent, Reuters reported:

Indonesians urged to boycott Starbucks over its pro-LGBT stance

A leader of Indonesia’s second-largest Muslim organisation has called for a boycott of Starbucks, saying that the international coffee chain’s pro-gay stance risks ruining the “religious and cultured” core of the Southeast Asian nation.

With the exception of the ultra-conservative Aceh province, homosexuality is legal in Indonesia. However, the number of police raids on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community have risen in the world’s most populous Muslim country.

Anwar Abbas of Muhammadiyah, an organisation that has around 30 million members, said the government should revoke Starbucks’ operating licence as the company’s support for the LGBT community is “not in line” with the nation’s ideology.

Muhammadiyah logo
Muhammadiyah logo

“If Starbucks only does business, then fine. But don’t bring ideology here,” Mr Abbas told Reuters on Saturday [July 1].

PT Sari Coffee Indonesia, which holds the licence to run the Starbucks chain, is a legal entity that “always obeys the prevailing regulations and appreciates the cultural values in Indonesia”, an executive at its parent company said.

“We also value the religious background of our customers and employees,” said Fetty Kwartati, a director at [the parent company] PT MAP Boga Adiperkasa Tbk.

Indonesia’s reputation for tolerance and pluralism is already under scrutiny after Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, an ethnic-Chinese Christian, was sentenced in May to two years in prison for blasphemy in a trial that came after mass Islamist-led rallies last year.

Howard Schultz, executive chairman of Starbucks (Photo courtesy of Addicted 2 Success)
Howard Schultz, executive chairman of Starbucks (Photo courtesy of Addicted 2 Success)

Asked why he had taken a stand against Starbucks, Mr Abbas said he was informed in a chat group about a pro-LGBT comment made by the company’s senior executive, Howard Schultz.

Mr Schultz is now chairman of Starbucks after stepping down from his previous role as chief executive.

Forbes reported that when a Starbucks shareholder complained in 2013 that the company had lost customers because of its support for gay marriage, Schultz said it embraces diversity and that “not every decision is an economic decision”.

“If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38 per cent you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares in Starbucks and buy shares in another company,” Mr Schultz was reported as saying at that time.

Starbucks customer Annisa Meidiana, who is a Muslim, said she would not stop buying coffee there despite the call for a boycott.

“Islam condemns LGBT. It’s a sin,” the 22-year-old university student said outside Jakarta. “But it doesn’t matter to me – For me, being an LGBT is a human right.”

Related articles:


Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

Leave a Reply

Tanzania, stop threatening backers of pregnant girls, LGBT people

Afghanistan: Men have sex with boys, deny it's pedophilia