JAKARTA – The leader of one of Indonesia’s prominent organisations has urged his followers to boycott Starbucks over the coffee chain’s support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
Anwar Abbas of Muhammadiyah, the second-largest Islamic group in Indonesia, says the brand’s pro-gay stance is ruining southeast Asia’s “religious and cultured” core.
“If Starbucks only does business, then fine. But don’t bring ideology here,” Abbas told Reuters on Saturday.
With the exception of the ultraconservative Aceh region, homosexual is not a crime in Indonesia. However, police raids on the LGBT community in recent times have spiked across the country, sparking international condemnation.
In May, two men became the first in modern Indonesian history to be punished by the state for their homosexuality, receiving 85 lashes of a rattan cane each.
Mr Abbas said he was informed in a chat group about a pro-LGBT comment made by the company’s senior executive, Howard Schultz.
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 percent 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.