Top Menu

Facing Islamophobic Backlash, Whole Foods Instructs Stores Not To ‘Promote’ Ramadan This Year

Facing Islamophobic Backlash, Whole Foods Instructs Stores Not To ‘Promote’ Ramadan This Year


In the current era of Islamophobia, anything remotely “Muslim-ish” touches off paranoid delusions of impending jihad, particularly when it involves American emblems — like Whole Foods. Last week, the suburban staple decided to tout “Saffron Road,” a new line of Halal-certified frozen food, to coincide with the Muslim holiday of Ramadan. Halal foods are items permitted under Islamic dietary guidelines. In a post on the company’s website entitled “What’s this halal about,” Whole Foods offered a chance to win free samples because “whether you eat halal because of your religious dietary guidelines or you simply prefer to choose food that’s made with high-quality, responsibly farmed ingredients, then Saffron Road has some tasty offerings for you.”

It seems that a “very small” contingent of consumers and right-wing bloggers simply preferred to throw an apoplectic fit. Thus, in apparent genuflection to this bloc, Whole Foods sent an email to all its U.S. stores specifically telling the franchises not to promote Ramadan this year. The Houston Press obtained a copy of the email:

“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 reversal marks “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.” What’s more, the move is hardly likely to placate the small number of fringe bloggers who are already boycotting the chain for “pimping and promoting–’Canaan Fair Trade’ and ‘Palestinian Fair Trade’ Olive Oil.” But given the conservative credentials of Whole Foods owner John Mackey, perhaps its surprising the company even considered recognizing Islam in the first place.

Whole Foods responded that the company has not stopped the campaign. It states it is still highlighting halal but also maintained it is still “not specifically [promoting] #Ramadan after some negative comments.” In any event, as Gawker notes, the whole episode does serve as a kind of flow chart for future faux-controversies: “Are you a racist xenophobe who dislikes anything at all for any arbitrary reason? Simply complain loudly on your blog, and Whole Foods will obsequiously cater to your every last prejudice.”


Despite a wave of false rumors that it was backing out of its Ramadan campaign, Whole Foods has directly stated via Twitter that they are indeed standing behind their efforts.

“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.”

, , , , , ,

  • Ian Gould

    How many of the idiots behind those complaints by into the “War on Christmas” nonsense?

  • Mosizzle

    “Whole Foods is anti-Israel, helps fund terrorism through its Palestinian Olive Oil promotion”

    ??? *shock*

  • Khushboo

    To not get off topic JD, maybe Whole Foods can donate to Somalia. The only question I have is how can we be sure it’ll be donated to the right people and avoid getting into the hands of the loons there? That’s my main concern because I certainly don’t want our donations to get into the wrong hands which could be a disaster.

  • Anti-Israel Whole Foods “Caves” After Schlussel Ramadan Post, But Not Really

    By Debbie Schlussel

    The American Muslim world, the anti-Semitic and phony ADL, and left-wing media and blogosphere (including crackpot turncoat Charles Johnson) are upset that I posted about anti-Israel Whole Foods’ Ramadan promotion, and as a result of my post Whole Foods appears–appears!–to have caved. But that’s not really what’s going on. Don’t believe the hype.


    What’s really happening here is that Whole Foods is upset that my articles on its anti-Israel Palestinian Terrorist Olive Oil promotion and partnership sending kids to HAMAS University (more here) have been gaining traction and making waves repeatedly in the two years since I posted them. And they are having a resurgence now. Whole Foods is losing pro-Israel and anti-terrorism customers. So, it’s making up this “bigot Schlussel made us cancel Ramadan in-store promotions we never planned in the first place” BS, in order to win sympathy and gloss over the real issue here, which is that Whole Foods is anti-Israel, helps fund terrorism through its Palestinian Olive Oil promotion. Like I said, I’d love to say I made Whole Foods cave. I did force the company’s hand. But not in the way they are claiming. Whole Foods officials are lying here, and they are cowards. No shocker or news in that.

    read more here

  • Nur Alia

    Home cooking is much better.

    Not so much that it tastes better, but especially during this time of year for Muslims, when it is time for iftar, or getting close to it, your neighbours come, gather round the place where you are going to eat, and talk, and share thier day.

    I am not saying that you shouldnt buy the products they sell here..especially the ready mades, but I think iftar is much more than simply eating after the fasting time is over for the day.

    Then too…perhaps it is time for Muslims to step into the breach, and create thier own shops that cater to the Islamic traditions. Then people can feel free…even non Muslims…to come and talk with Muslims about traditions, rather than have people dictate what Islam is without proper knowledge and alternitive agendas.

  • mindy1

    Good charities JD-will look into them

  • JD

    World Vision: World Vision has established 6-month response plans for Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia. Donate here.

  • JD

    Save the Children: Save the Children has launched a major humanitarian response in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia, feeding tens of thousands of children, providing life-saving medical treatment, and getting clean water to remote communities. Donate here.

  • JD

    also guys
    Tens of thousands of starving Somalis have flooded Mogadishu refugee camps in search of food as the nation fights East Africa’s worst drought in 60 years and ruling militants who are blocking aid from western countries.

    Yahoo! News spoke to a reporter who is in Somalia and has seen first-hand what it’s like in the refugee camps of the war-torn and famished country.

    “There was no food, no help. There are kids dying left and right—I’m not exaggerating. They buried 12 on the day I visited,” said Jason Straziuso, a reporter for the Associated Press.

    “The most touching thing so far has been when this small child waved at me yesterday. I stuck my head in her tent and she was lying, motionless, flies flying everywhere and she sort of stuck her head up and waved at me,” he said. “That put a lump in my throat because I don’t know that she’s going to get better, in fact I think she has a good chance of not getting better.”

    African Union forces have launched an offensive to keep aid agencies safe as they bring food and supplies to the thousands of refugees in Mogadishu.

    Below are organizations that are working on relief and recovery in the region:

    International Medical Corps: The group has mobilized teams in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia — three countries expected to bear the brunt of the drought — to respond to this growing humanitarian crisis. Donate here.

  • JD

    guess noone really promotes Xmas or Easter on these days also right … they have santa walking around and xmas decarations and stuff but that is not promoting anything

  • mindy1

    Eh, not surprising in the political climate we are in-schlussel probably made them do it, she hates whole foods

  • JD

    I wonder If i raise a big fuss over X-mas this year( example its one of my fav holidays well any holiday get you off work is my fav holiday) what will the media and others say…. Will all of islam be blamed or this will be seen as a “islamic conspericy ” or way to show how much all muslims hate christians….. Maybe we should no Xmas decarations at stores no xmas movies on Tv and when we get called on it we should say they did samething to us

    You should write a email to whole food and tell them its time to standup to handmongers much like how people long ago hated blacks and did not want them any were close to them this is the same thing and someone one or some company need to take a moral stand

  • David

    Whole Food’s email addresses of national media contacts:

  • Farlowe

    If one is a vegan then one doesn’t have these problems. 🙂

  • David

    Whole Foods appears to have violated a few of its own “Core Values”

    As an occasional Whole Foods customer myself, I know for a fact they have a decent Kosher foods section, and they feature special foods at Passover. So what’s the big deal about Halal? And Ramadan? Silly me! Muslims!

    I encourage you to call one of their regional offices:

  • Crow

    Talk about giving into a spoiled brats demands. And how come right-wing bloggers have nothing to do but blog about things they don’t like? Don’t they work or have social lives?

Powered by Loon Watchers