By Jason Hopkins
Almost 30 million people belong to Muhammadiyah, the second-largest mainstream Muslim organization in Indonesia. They have denounced the popular coffee chain over the company’s former chief executive’s past praise for the gay community. Both organizations want Starbucks’ operating license to be revoked because the stance goes against Islamic teachings.
“Our objection is because they are promoting something that is against the human instinct, against human behavior and against religion. That’s why we are against it,” Amini Amir Abdullah, head of Perkasa’s Islamic affairs bureau, stated to Reuters in an interview earlier this week. Homosexuality goes against the country’s constitution.
Sodomy (including homosexual sex) is illegal in Malaysia, and committing gay acts can land you up to 20 years in prison. While homosexuality is still legal in Indonesia, a case moving forward in the Constitutional Court is looking to criminalize gay sex.
Oddly enough, calls for a boycott come in response to an old video of Howard Schultz defending LGBT causes in a shareholders meeting. The video, released in 2013, shows Schultz responding to a shareholder who was complaining over lost business because of the company’s support for gay marriage. The recording has been re-circulating online and has caused the ire of conservative Muslims in Indonesia and Malaysia. Shares of the company that operates Starbucks in Indonesia fell drastically this week.
Why is this funny?
Starbucks is a stereotypical, progressive entity. The company champions both LGBT causes and defends Islamic culture — no matter how contradictory those two things can be. Remember: not long ago, the company announced its plan to hire 10,000 Muslim refugees over a five year period. The announcement was supposed to be a slight to President Trump and his “Muslim ban.” The Starbucks brand perception, by the way, took a major hit after news of the Muslim refugee hiring spree.
A lame attempt at virtue signaling to the liberal base.
Instead of worrying about the financial health of his company, former chief executive Howard Schultz, as you may know, is more concerned with a possible run for office. Many Democrats are looking to him as a likely challenger to President Trump.
So which is it, Starbucks? Do you support the gay community or do you stand in solidarity with the Muslim community? It’s becoming increasingly obvious you can’t have it both ways.