KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 4 ― Actress and entrepreneur Neelofa has sparked criticism for selling headscarves to a customer in Israel, even though the country purportedly has trade ties with Malaysia.
The 27-year-old, whose full name is Nor Neelofa Mohd Noor, received some censure when she posted on Instagram a picture of a FedEx Express package to a customer, whose address lists Israel, from her Naelofar Hijab company that sells the tudung.
“It’s from Israel. Thank you, Alhamdulilah,” Neelofa said in her Instagram post yesterday, using the Arabic expression for “Praise God”.
Some of her fans said they felt that Neelofa should not have done business with Israelis because Malaysia does not have diplomatic ties with the country.
“Aik, doesn’t our passport say we can’t go [to Israel] and Malaysia can’t have relations with Israel?” Instagram user @wanny_azizan said.
Some even expressed anti-Semitic sentiments, with Instagram user @wakkental saying: “Should just kill them. We don’t know what their intentions are. Israel is a race that has no scruples even from the start; it’s a race that we can’t do good for, a cursed race”.
Others, however, came to the local celebrity’s defence.
“How can Malay businesses develop if there are some who always criticise? Neelofa said ‘Alhamdulilah’ because her hijab business has gone across the world. Is that so wrong?” said Instagram user @xxsaiful97xx.
An Israeli paper reported in 2014 that Malaysia has been trading with Israel quietly in a “blossoming” relationship over the years despite lacking diplomatic ties, with Israeli data showing that trade reached US$1.529 billion (RM4.8 billion) for 2013, almost double that of 2012.