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Sat 15 Mar 2008 06:20 PM

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Union co-op boycotts Danish products

Dubai chain of shops pulls products from shelves to protest reprinting of Prophet Mohammed cartoon.

The Union Cooperative Society in Dubai has pulled all Danish products off its shelves in protest to the republishing of a controversial cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed with a bomb in his turban.

An official from the Union Cooperative Society said on Friday that all branches in the emirate had been told to stop selling Danish products last week, reported UAE daily Khaleej Times.

‘We have been directed to remove the Danish goods, mostly consisting of dairy products from the shelves. The directive came to us last week from our higher-ups and we acted accordingly," the official told the newspaper.

"We cannot comment much as it is an order from the office holders. But right now, there are no Danish products on the shelves in all the Union Cooperative Society branches in Dubai."

The Union Cooperative Society is the latest in a string of boycotts on the sale of Danish products across the Gulf since the cartoon was republished last month.

At least 17 Danish newspapers reprinted a cartoon as a demonstration of freedom of expression after police foiled a murder plot against the cartoonist.

Media outlets in Jordan and Qatar have launched campaigns to boycott Danish products, and protests have been held across the Muslim world, including in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Gaza, Iran and Denmark, which witnessed a week of riots by Danish Muslim youths.

A number of Danish embassies were attacked and more than 50 people were killed in rioting across the Middle East, Africa and Asia following the first publication of the cartoons in late 2005, first in the Danish press and subsequently by numerous media outlets around the world.

The cartoons caused a massive backlash against Danish companies operating in the region, with supermarkets and retail outlets removing their products from the shelves.

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Najmi J. Ansari 11 years ago

Its' a real shame on Danish allow freedom of expression to destroy the sentiments of Muslim society the world over. Has the Danish press have lost its ethics? Moreover, instead of boycotting and removing the Danish product off the shelves the second time, why doesn't the Muslim world send them a clear message not to sell any Danish products for the next 5 years or so. The Middle East and the Gulf, too have big dairies, like Marai, Safi, Sadafco, etc who can easily cater to our dairy requirements.

Kent Madsen 11 years ago

Union Co-op is taking Danish goods of the shelves in retaliation for a Danish newspaper reprinting the cartoons. The newspaper printed the cartoons in response to a plan being discovered that Islamic extremist planned to kill one of the cartoonists. Does that mean that non-Muslims should now go ahead and boycott products made in Muslim countries? I mean the whole cartoon thing was long forgotten until a group of radical Muslims decided to, in the name of Islam, kill a cartoonist. This time the Muslims started it.. shall the west boycott you ? I don't think boycotting Arla Food products is going to increase peaceful co-existence between religions. And quite ironically; Arla Foods in the UAE is not based in any freezone, so I would imagine that the majority of the company is owned by a UAE national and a large number of the employees are probably Muslims. During the last boycott, Arla generously kept all staff on the payroll even though they were not needed... they may not be able to do that this time..

Faisal 11 years ago

Congratulations to the management of Union Cooperative Society for the guts to stand up to a deliberate move to insult any religion once again, by the so called 'freedom of speech' in Danish papers! A stark reminder to our leaders to uphold their duty in protecting the dignity of its people and their beliefs. We are never against the free will to express opinions but when it crosses the line of morality? I hope other companies will follow suit in banning the products and services from the countries in question. No need for a violent reaction but boycott to convey protest.

Muhammad Irfan Khan 11 years ago

I applaud the Union Coop for their move. These are the tactics Muslims should used but not violence, because violence makes them achieve what they want of the world to think of we Muslims. instead we should be out and about to educate people on what Islam really is and Who Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) was and what were his teaching. Editors Reply You make a very good point Muhammed - non-violent protest is the way forward. However, even boycotting goods as a weapon can be a very blunt sword. Take Danish company, Arla foods. It has been in the region for decades, and the majority of its workers are local, and Muslim. Boycotting its dairy products may well have an impact on the bottom line of the parent company in Denmark, but it will have an even bigger impact on the welfare of the company's workers in this region - who may or may not keep their jobs depending on how long the boycott lasts, and how wide it spreads. Arla, incidentally, has denounced the publishing of the cartoons - at much cost to itself in Denmark. The Danes boycotted its products for doing so.

Tarek Eletrebi 11 years ago

You know what's ridiculous? It's when foreigners who have no clue what it's like to have their idols smeared are telling us that we can't even peacefully show how upset we are about a government that celebrates it's freedom by allowing the trashing of our prophet. Please don't try to spin it round to make it seem like we're hurting our own. If we haven't tried and tested this boycott and know that it will make a change, we wouldn't have restarted it. Danish companies aren't here to help the community. They're here to make money and a big part of this money is paid to the government in the form of taxes. I guess they want us to just sit in a corner and bite our lips quietly while someone who knows nothing about Islam propagated false ideas about it as their government cheers them on. This is not about Arla. It's about any product that has the words, "Made in Denmark" on them. If they won't listen to us as fellow human beings, they'll listen to us loud and clear as consumers. Consider it a costly market research.

Ian 11 years ago

Regardless of your sentiments on the matter, it is the right of every man to boycott institutions if they feel it is their moral duty. In fact, it's their right to boycot without justification. I wonder, however, if anyone will boycott the supply of vast amounts of Insulin that is exported into the ME Region by Denmark, or will local dairy companies cease to purchase Danish raw materials?

sadia masroor 11 years ago

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Prophet Muhammad Salallahu alaihi wa sallam is - the man who firmly stood against injustice- the man who liberated women and guaranteed them their rights -the man who spoke for respectful rehabilitation of widows and orphans - the man who diminished the raging fire of racism and inequality - the man who rightfully conveyed the word of Allah, Most High - the man who termed the liberation of slaves as a merciful act, an expiation of sins - the man who untiringly brokered Peace between warring tribes - the man who convinced to the world that humanity is a single race - the man who endorsed social justice in the greatest way possible - simply by adhering to it- the man who established a moral and just system in society in the form of shariah - the man who loved his neighbour more than his life - the man who greatly upheld loyalty in friendship. - the man who forgave his staunchest enemies - the man who shared with the poor and the rich - the man who never spoke a word untrue - the man who honoured his guest, and treated them the best. - the man who visited the sick and the old, comforting them with kindest of words, even to those who opposed him the most. - the man whose faith was the greatest, and yet lived life the simplest. - the man who loved to pray and to kneel, and shared his every meal. - the man so honest even his enemies swore by it. - the man most upright even at times of strife. - the one Muslims regard as their True leader, - the one Muslims love and respect more than their lives or their family, - the one Muslims believe is the most beloved among the entire creation of Allah Almighty, - the pious one that everybody, Muslims and non Muslims, unmistakably believe as the Greatest Human Being ever to have walked on Earth. - the one who is the biggest cause of grief to all evil whisperers and evil doers. - and the one that the immoral Danish cartoonist, Danish media, Danish publicists and associates constantly slander against out of prejudice and bigotism. The current state of the world is “When you do good, know it when impounded with criticism and abuse, and if you have sinned know it when YOU become the “apple in the eye” of the self styled “LIBERAL WORLD”, (or if you get nominated for a noble prize!) Denmark is fairly acquainted with the FACT that Islam forbids picture making and that Muslims will never Forgive Blasphemy, and yet so as to provocate Muslims extremely, Denmark permitted the printing, publishing and distribution of blasphemous material directed towards the noblest of all nobles, the leader of all prophets, the messiah of mercy to mankind - Prophet Muhammad Salallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam……..all in the pretext of “FREEDOM of EXPRESSION”!!Expression of what? Hatred and jealously???….. Guess they have chosen to forget what the “Freedom of Expression” really stands for???Well, it’s about time they realize that it stands forLiberty of faithLiberty of honourLiberty of justiceLiberty of modestyand more than anything - it is the Liberty of Rightful WAY of LIFE!Clearly, it doesn’t stand for suppression - suppression of beliefs that differ culturallyand religiously. Modesty and Vulgarity have different names in the west as is evident from the following views:To the WEST, it is upright when u have “women walking nude” in the name of FASHIONTo the West, it is upright when u have topless women working in strip clubsTo the West, it is upright when u have proms where “loosing ones’ virginity” is the criterion to become trendyTo the West, it is upright when u commercialize women to market commodities as cheap as a shaving razor!To the West, it is upright when u write untrue and abusive stuff about a faith that has millions of believersTo the West, it is upright to indulge in alcohol, which clearly diminishes the sense that distinguishes good and badBut shockingly, when a Muslim woman chooses “not to dress provocatively and to cover her hair” out of HER FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION OF MODESTY and BELIEF, she FACES UPROAR AND SEVERE CRITICISM FROM THE WEST so much so that legislations have drafted rules banning any such attire …….WHY? Because it does not endorse vulgarity- the west’s “freedom of expression”! This is an Act revealing the Highest Degree of Bigotism perpetrated by chauvinists who fiercely envy the “Magnetism of Islam” in the growing world.Yes, it hurts when bigotism extends to this level….but we will now show our “FREEDOM of EXPRESSION”. We condemn these acts of prejudice and reject the falsehood An apology on paper is not what we want An apology from within is what we demand Peace! Sadia Masroor

syeda sidrah nadeem 11 years ago

i am really happy that u all started a compaign against those who hurt us regarding our beloved ahzrat MOHAMMAD (saw).i am with u in boycotting these products.we also has started a compaign of boycotting these products in our college.may ALLAH give us strength to fight against these stupids of DENMARK.ameen