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Indonesia: Muslim leader calls for Starbucks boycott over support for LGBT
Asia Correspondent - June 30, 2017
Anwar Abbas, who also heads up the quasi-governmental Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) responsible for Halal certification in the country, suggested on Thursday that it was time for Indonesia's government to consider revoking the operating licence of Starbucks over the CEO's views on LGBT issues.
Anwar released a statement in which he declared "We as a nation clearly do not want our attitudes and character as a religious and cultured nation broken and messed up by their presence [in Indonesia]," reported Republika.
The comments drew widespread calls on social media to boycott Starbucks, with many rallying against a supposed Rezim Islamophobia or "Islamophobia regime" via the company's pro-equality stance. Sbux, LGBT and #BoikotStarbucks were all trending on Twitter in Indonesia on Friday.
Starbucks Indonesia was targeted by Islamic State-affiliated terrorists in January 2016 who struck one of its stores in central Jakarta, leading to the temporary closure of all outlets in the capital.
Starbucks, along with many US-based multinationals including Microsoft, Google, McDonald's and ironically, Twitter, has publicly supported marriage equality.
The American company entered the Indonesian market in 2002 and as of the third quarter of 2016, Starbucks operated 260 stores across Indonesia, compared to 293 in the Philippines and 226 in Malaysia.
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."
Starbucks Indonesia's marketing manager Yuti Resani said in 2016 that while respecting local culture, "Starbucks appreciates diversity and equity, and we are committed to providing an inclusive and friendly environment for all our Starbucks partners and customers."
Anwar claimed this week that the company CEO's support for marriage equality meant that Indonesia's very identity and state ideology of Pancasila were at stake.
Earlier this month, 36 US lawmakers wrote to Indonesia's ambassador in Washington to urge the government to defend minorities against persecution – particularly those from the LGBT community.
Led by Democratic Party member Sean Patrick Maloney, the statement warned that attacks on minority groups could "negatively impact diplomatic relations and foreign investments in your country, if left unchecked."