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.
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.
“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.
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.”
- International coalition targets Indonesia’s anti-LGBT abuses (June 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Commentary: Indonesian police fuel anti-LGBT hysteria (June 2017, 76crimes.com)
- LGBT repression grows in Indonesia, with 141 arrests, public caning (May 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Caning law pushes Aceh’s LGBT further underground (December 2015, Aljazeera)
- Indonesia Police Arrest 141 Men Accused of Having Gay Sex Party
(May 22, 2017, New York Times)
- Indonesia keeps persecuting its LGBT citizens (April 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Study: Anti-LGBT bias costs Indonesia up to $12 billion (March 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Indonesian police push anti-LGBT militant Islamic agenda (January 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Indonesia Muslim hardliners break up what they think is gay sex party (November 2016, Reuters)
- Outcry after Indonesian police allow anti-gay raid
- FPI barges into an apartment, forcing police to arrest several men (November 2016, Jakarta Post)
- Indonesian president: Police must defend LGBT citizens
- Indonesians push to prohibit gay sex, unmarried sex (August 2016, 76crimes.com)
- Activists to Indonesian leaders: Stifle anti-LGBT officials (February 2016, 76crimes.com)
- Indonesia: Detention, ‘rehab’ for 2 women who hugged (October 2015, 76crimes.com)
- Archive of this blog’s coverage of Indonesia