Human rights advocates, both within and outside of Indonesia, have grown increasingly concerned about the country’s LGBT community after the public caning of two gay men in Aceh and a series of high-profile police raids forced many within the community to fear for their safety and go underground.
But Yunahar Ilyas, deputy chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), the country’s top Muslim clerical body, says those who support LGBT rights and same-sex marriage are the ones violating human rights. Joining calls by other prominent Muslim leaders to boycott coffee retail giant Starbucks over the company’s support for marriage equality, he argued that the company was supporting an agenda that would lead to the death of all of humanity.
“It is very clear that Starbucks supports this vile deed that is very contrary to Islam, it is even a form of human rights violation as it will allow for human extinction to occur,” Yunahar said on Saturday as quoted by Tribunnews.
Yunahar was asked about his support for the Starbuck boycott on the sidelines of a leadership conference for Muhammadiyah, the country’s second-largest Muslim organization of which Yuhahar is also a leadership board member.
The first call for Muslims to boycott Starbucks in Indonesia was made by Anwar Abbas, chairman of Muhammadiyah’s economic leader board, on Friday after he learned from a Whatsapp group chat that the company’s CEO, Howard Schultz, had told a shareholder in 2013 that they could sell their stock if they were worried that the company’s support for marriage equality stance was costing them customers.
“It is time for the people of Indonesia to consider steps to boycott products from Starbucks if their attitudes and outlook remain unchanged because we do not want to accept a global company that is causing our identity as a religious and cultured nation to be damaged,” Anwar said as quoted by Detik.
Anwar also called on the Indonesian government to consider revoking Starbucks’ business license as the company’s views were “clearly not in line” with Pancasila, Indonesia’s national ideology. Similarly to Yunahar, he argued that same-sex marriage could not be considered a human right as it could lead to mankind’s extinction.
Over the weekend, the hashtag #boikotstarbucks was briefly trending on Twitter in Indonesia. There were certainly many tweets in support of the boycott…
#BoikotStarbucks kopi LGBT
enyah dari indonesia
— Datuak Panduko (@DatuakPanduko) June 29, 2017
“#BoycottStarbucks LGBT coffee, begone from Indonesia”
…the most popular tweets carrying the hashtag came from Indonesians making fun of the boycott, with many noting the hypocrisy of using Twitter, owned by a company which strongly supports LGBT rights, to spread support for their protest against a pro-LGBT business.
Bitch,ur tweeting abt #BoikotStarbucks but still using 'Twitter' who support LGBT too.Selamat pakai.
— alchan yeolmae (@Mireeedoremi) June 30, 2017
#BoikotStarbucks don't forget to fucking boikot H&M, Google, Facebook, Twitter. Oh wait, DID YOU USE TWITTER? THEY'RE SUPPORTING GAY DUDE EW
— Daydreaming (@ollieadreamer) June 30, 2017
In response to the boycott controversy, PT MAP Boga Adiperkasa, the company which holds the licensee rights for Starbucks in Indonesia, said in a statement that they supported Starbuck’s pro-equality policies but that it also appreciated the culture of Indonesia and would always follow the country’s laws and regulations.
In January, Starbucks CEO Schultz released a statement titled “Living Our Values in Uncertain Times” which criticized US President Donald Trump’s then-recently released executive order banning people from several predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States, including refugees fleeing wars. Schultz declared that Starbucks would hire 10,000 refugees in the 75 countries around the world where Starbucks does business.
He finished the statement by writing, “We are in business to inspire and nurture the human spirit, one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time – whether that neighborhood is in a Red State or a Blue State; a Christian country or a Muslim country; a divided nation or a united nation. That will not change. You have my word on that.”.