Whole Foods Caves in to Pressure from Bigot Brigade, Cancels Ramadan Promo - Update: Whole Foods Clarifies, Continues Promo

Sleazy bigots succeed in intimidating Whole Foods
US News • Views: 37,266

Shame on Whole Foods Markets for giving in to pressure from raving bigots like Debbie Schlussel, and canceling their promotion of Ramadan: Whole Foods: ‘We Should Not Highlight Ramadan’.

Under pressure from right-wing bloggers who blindly associate Ramadan and Muslims with terrorism and burqas, Whole Foods has sent an email to its stores across the United States in which it specifically tells stores not to promote Ramadan this year.

Just last week, Whole Foods began its promotion of Saffron Road’s line of halal products throughout the holiday, which ends on August 29, via writer Yvonne Maffei’s blog, My Halal Kitchen. That promotion was waylaid by what seems like a very small amount of criticism, according to an internal email that the Houston Press obtained recently.

“It is probably best that we don’t specifically call out or ‘promote’ Ramadan,” reads a portion of that email. “We should not highlight Ramadan in signage in our stores as that could be considered ‘Celebrating or promoting’ Ramadan.”

This is a significant departure from years past, when Whole Foods has promoted its halal items during Ramadan with small signs that displayed a crescent moon, the symbol of Islam. It’s also a striking difference from the way that the famously tolerant grocery chain promotes other holidays, including signage and in-store promotions for Passover, Easter and Christmas.

“We recently introduced a line of frozen products in Grocery that are Halal certified (meet Muslim dietary laws) called Saffron Road,” continues the email. “With the introduction of this line company wide, and the beginning of Ramadan last week, we posted a product giveaway on the Whole Story blog (on July 31) to generate awareness and interest in the products. Some people have misinterpreted the blog post to mean we are celebrating or promoting Ramadan in our stores. The misinterpretation has generated some negative feedback from a small segment of vocal and angry consumers and bloggers.”

UPDATE at 8/9/11 1:30:57 pm

Whole Foods has put out a statement on their Twitter feed about the controversy:

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.

[…]

We’re extremely excited about offering halal products products for our shoppers and we stand behind them AND our promotion of them…

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