Malaysian-Dutch firm appeals Muslims not to boycott
Dutch Lady Milk Industries placed newspaper advertisements to denounce Fitna and also to appeal to the Muslims not to boycott its products.2 April 2008
KUALA LUMPUR - A Malaysian-Dutch dairy producer took out newspaper advertisements on Wednesday to denounce the anti-Islam film, Fitna, an apparent appeal to Muslims to not boycott its products.
Malaysia's religious council and several Muslim groups in the country have called on Muslims to boycott Dutch goods to protest the 15-minute movie by right-wing politician Geert Wilders, saying the film creates unnecessary tensions and misleads viewers to link Islam and violence.
In full-page announcements in major newspapers, as well as on its Web site, Dutch Lady Milk Industries said it wanted to "strongly condemn this expression against Islam" by Wilders.
Dutch multinational firm Royal Friesland Foods owns a 50 percent stake in Dutch Lady and the remainder of the dairy produce company is owned by Malaysians. The second largest shareholder is state investment agency Permodalan Nasional Berhad.
The advertisements pointed out that Dutch Lady is 50 percent owned by Malaysians, employs 660 Malaysians and manufactures its dairy products locally. Its brands include Dutch Lady, Frisian Flag, Frisolac, Calcimex and Joy.
"We are part of the Malaysian community and respect all its cultures as its own. We look forward to your continued support and will always cherish the values that we share," chairman Kamarul Ariffin Mohamad Yassin said in the advertisement.
The Malaysian supermarket chain Mydin has marked Dutch products with red labels to give customers the option of boycotting them. Mydin buys 60 million ringgit (EUR 12 million) worth of Dutch goods a year.
Dutch Ambassador Lody Embrechts said on Tuesday that the film's release was regrettable but has called on people to refrain from boycotting Dutch goods and engage in dialogue instead.
Malaysia's Foreign Ministry has strongly condemned the film as disrespectful and insensitive. Some 60 percent of the country's 27 million people are Muslims.
The film, titled "Fitna," or "ordeal" in Arabic, was posted online on Thursday. Though it was removed from the site LiveLeak.com on Friday, it has since been available on other file-sharing sites.
[Copyright AP 2008]