Whole Foods Scrambles To Do Damage-Control After One Region Buckles Under Islamophobic Pressure

Categories: News
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Whole Foods
Whole Foods wants to get one thing straight: 

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Addressing a report from our sister paper Houston Press--Whole Foods: "We Should Not Highlight Ramadan"--which set off a maelstrom of attacks on the haute-hippie market, the corporate-run @WholeFoods has spent the day doing damage control, blasting out tweets in support of their Muslim customers.  

Last week, the retailer announced a marketing campaign for Ramadan, the Islamic holy month that began on Aug. 1. In a post on its official blog, Whole Story, writer Yvonne Maffei of My Halal Kitchen, encourages Muslims to try Whole Foods' halal-certified offerings, specifically items from the frozen entree brand Saffron Road. Fast Company called the campaign "a new benchmark for the Muslim-American community: the first coordinated Ramadan promotion by a national supermarket chain."

Unsurprisingly, the campaign was blasted by some right-wing bloggers, including Debbie Schlussel, who closed out a blog post on the topic with, "Whole Foods . . . For the Organically Conscious Jihadist. Way more humane because, hey, "free range chickens" can run away from the IED. allahu natural fruitbar."

Houston Press reported that it was this pressure that led the company send out an internal e-mail that stated, "It is probably best that we don't specifically call out or 'promote' Ramadan . . . We should not highlight Ramadan in signage in our stores as that could be considered 'Celebrating or promoting' Ramadan." The newspaper got a hold of the e-mail and published excerpts of it today.  

A flurry of offended tweets followed, including this gem from activist Reza Aslan
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Whole Foods responded to the tweets, claiming that the e-mail did not come from its corporate headquarters.  

We are still carrying and promoting halal products for those that are celebrating Ramadan this month. We never sent a communication from our headquarters requesting stores take down signs or remove parts from this promotion. We have 12 different operating regions and unfortunately, one region reacted by sending out directions to promote halal and not specifically Ramadan after some negative online comments.
 
In general, the Muslim community has accepted the company's explanation. "Whole Foods should be commended for reaching out to Muslim Americans consumers though it's Ramadan promotion by being inclusive of various ethnic and religious traditons in America," said Munira Syeda, spokeswoman for the Greater Los Angeles chapter of CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations), based in Anaheim. "The company is actually one of the handful that is setting the industry standard for corporate America. Muslims and Islam are part of the American fabric and Whole Foods recognizes that courting about 7 million Muslim Americans makes good business sense and is the socially responsible thing to do." 

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8 comments
Tyler
Tyler

I don't suggest a boycott but I do suggest signing this petition to let Whole Foods know how many people across the US (and world even) feel about their one region and the FACT that it is still not promoting halal product FOR RAMADANhttp://www.change.org/petition...

Californian
Californian

Why it has become normal for Americans to celebrate Hanukkah, Passover and all other Jewish holidays but get hostile and hateful towards Muslims when some stores cater to an Islamic holiday? Have American become brainwashed and slaves to anti-Muslim Jewish propaganda thru Zionist controlled Hollywood, media and Congress?

Californian
Californian

The problem with Muslims is that they do not want to take the time or inconvenience themselves to boycott businesses and individuals who are biased against Islaam, and take their business somewhere else. If we do not respect ourselves no one will respect us.

Muslims have everything, true guidance and high morals, land, populations, wealth, history, etc., yet we are at the bottom, why? Because we have abandoned Islaam and raced after material gain at any cost, even our dignity. Boycotting is a legitimate and powerful weapon Muslims can use. It has been used against Muslims unjustly, but we can use it fairly.

TK
TK

We need to boycott  Whole food. The 11-12 million Muslims and South Asians have a buying power of between $200-250 Billion . 25% of all the doctors in this country are South Asians or Muslims and they have they a STANDARD OF LIVING WHICH IS THE HIGHEST IN THE COUNTRY INCLUDING WHITES. The greatest amount of the millionaires of Silicon Valley are South Asians and Muslims. We as an ethic group and community should boycott Whole Food. Me and my family are doing so. 

Bill T.
Bill T.

Well put and Ramadan kareem, neighbor.

Mohamed S.
Mohamed S.

TK, they said they did not cancel their Ramadan program.  Also, even if the Muslim and Asian population has a lot of buying power, this buying power is not going to cause you to buy more than your needs of food and beverage, is it?  Buying power shows itself in purchases of large ticket items and durable goods.

Bill T.
Bill T.

Oh, I did a really poor job of reading for content, DUH. I was with you until you started ascribing the problem to Jews. You don't think that a few Southern baptists might have a little hate for Islam? How about those genius apparently neo-Nazis at the biker bar that posted the hate message a few weeks ago (http://blogs.ocweekly.com/nave..., think they're a bunch of Jews? Feeling a little paranoid, are we?

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