McDonald’s, Starbucks, HSBC in crosshairs of Muslim NGOs’ month-long boycott

Pro-Gaza supporters holding up play cards during an anti-Israel mass rally organised by Muslim NGOs at Astaka Tasik Titiwangsa, August 10, 2014. ― Picture by Choo Choy May
Pro-Gaza supporters holding up play cards during an anti-Israel mass rally organised by Muslim NGOs at Astaka Tasik Titiwangsa, August 10, 2014. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 10 — Fast food franchise McDonald’s, coffee chain Starbucks, and British bank HSBC are the three businesses that will be targeted in a concerted boycott by Muslim NGOs, as they launched a month-long campaign called Bulan Kemarahan Ummah (The Month of Ummah’s Wrath) today.

The Muslim NGOs vowed to undertake “peaceful boycotts” against the three companies as part of the anti-Israel campaign, but also named soft drink brand Coca-Cola and Swiss multinational firm Nestlé as other companies to be boycotted by Muslims.

According to the campaign, the brands will be boycotted because they allegedly “lend their support to Zionist Israel”.

“As a rule, we don’t want boycotters to vandalise, hurt the feelings, or do things that will backfire … Don’t do things that others can use to mock our campaign,” said Abdullah Zaik Abd Rahman, the chief executive of Pro-Palestine group Aman Palestin which spearheaded the campaign.

However, Abdullah said mass protests outside restaurants or outlets by holding up placards and lobbying customers are fine in order to raise awareness.

During the launch event in Taman Tasik Titiwangsa which saw hundreds of Muslim supporters attend, there were several buntings erected admonishing McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and HSBC.

The buntings compared each stick of McDonald’s french fries symbolises one bullet for the Israeli army, while each drop of Coca-Cola is equal to one drop of Palestinian blood falling to the ground.

The buntings equated each stick of McDonald’s french fry to one bullet for the Israeli army, while each drop of Coca-Cola symbolised a droplet of Palestinian blood falling to the ground.

A pro-Palestine rally in Dataran Merdeka last Saturday also saw calls to boycott all products linked to Israel.

A list of products and companies, including McDonald’s, purportedly with ties to Israel’s Zionist regime has been circulating in the social media, although many have ended up there based on now-debunked hoaxes and obsolete links.

On Tuesday, violent rallies were held outside two McDonald’s outlets in Kerteh and Dungun, reportedly resulting in about 80 per cent loss of revenue at the two locations since.

A nationwide 24-hour boycott was held on Friday against McDonald’s to protest against the fast food chain’s alleged links to Israel.

The popular fast food joint has since pleaded against the protest, saying the real victims of a boycott of its products would be its mostly Malay-Muslim employees.

The fast food chain also pointed out that the company is a source of livelihood for more than 12,000 employees, over 85 per cent of whom are Muslims.

It also said 67 of the restaurants are owned and operated by 27 local franchisees, nearly half of whom are Malay-Muslims.

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