Whole Foods: "We Should Not Highlight Ramadan" - UPDATED

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No "Ramadan Mubarak" wishes this year from Whole Foods.
UPDATE: View the original, unedited internal email from Whole Foods.

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."

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Leah Jones
Whole Foods has never had a problem promoting other holidays in the past.
This language represents a very different side of Whole Foods than the one it showed to the media when it released this statement on its halal products and Ramadan:

We're always looking for ways to expand our product mix and provide a wide variety of high-quality natural and organic foods for our diverse customer base. We celebrate the many food choices we offer our shoppers throughout the year that satisfy a variety of lifestyles and dietary preferences. Many of our shoppers requested that we carry more halal offerings to meet their needs and we listened. We recently launched frozen entrees from Saffron Road and we are highlighting these new products that are not just halal certified, but that also meet our high quality standards. Just like the other ethnic and special diet foods we carry, we're excited to also offer halal products with this line of quality frozen entrees.

Saffron Road's halal items are still for sale in Whole Foods. Yet partners at the stores are directed to tell customers: "Whole Foods Market is not promoting Ramadan, but rather featuring the great halal offerings our shoppers can find in our stores during this special time."

Despite a statement from the Anti-Defamation League that Whole Foods and its Ramadan promotion aren't vaguely anti-Semitic, the association between a holiday that represents a time of patience, humility and charity for Muslims across the world and Jihadist terrorism is apparently so strong with a small, vocal minority that Whole Foods has capitulated to these people -- who surely can't represent the chain's larger demographic -- and buried its former Ramadan promotions as if they were a dirty secret.

For now, it looks like the embargo will remain in place according to that internal email: "We do need to hold off, however, on displaying any Ramadan signs in our stores at this time."

UPDATE:

Whole Foods left the following comment, which is similar to what the company released on its Twitter account:

Kate here from Whole Foods. To set the record straight, Whole Foods Market is NOT cancelling our current halal promotion, which is centered around the timeframe of Ramadan. We invite shoppers seeking out not just halal certified products, but products that also meet our high quality standards to try Saffron Road and other regional offerings in our stores.

We never sent a communication from our headquarters requesting stores take down signs at all. We have 12 different operating regions and your reacted by sending out directions to promote Halal and not specifically Ramadan after some online negative comments and after viewing signage made by one individual at a store that didn't point to these products.

We're excited to be offering high quality halal products for our shoppers and we stand behind them and our promotion of them, just like we do with other seasonal and holiday products.

To that, the Houston Press would like to add the following lines, also from the original internal email, located in a section called "Team Member Q&A - Halal product feature during Ramadan":

Is Whole Food Market hosting a campaign to celebrate Ramadan?

No. Whole Foods Market is not promoting Ramadan.

You can view the original, unedited internal email from Whole Foods on our site.



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110 comments
Image Editing Service
Image Editing Service

Thanks for sharing the idea there would be some apprehensions from segment but i am up for it.

HC
HC

Yeah, Whole Foods would just hate to piss off people who would never shop at their store anyway due to the Hippie liberal crap that goes on there!

HC
HC

I went to a Fiesta during Lent and saw a big sign in English and Spanish that said "Lenten Foods."  It must be a Catholic conspiracy to turn all of our little children over to pedophile priests to be molested.

Guest
Guest

factually incorrect. socialism has caused more death/destruction than all religions put together throughout history. and it did so in just under two centuries. way to go.

Naver !
Naver !

you all ppl care a bout food ! ramdan is not a month of eating !! praying,fastting,giving charity would be better :)

cljahn
cljahn

If it's OK to promote Passover specials, it's OK to promote Ramadan specials. Whole Foods should reverse course, and let the bigoted minority stew in its own ignorance.

Pacnad
Pacnad

Hitler made many, many anti-Christian statements, as well as others that supported Christianity - as in most things, he lied whenever he had to to fit the immediate goal at hand, and the German people were pretty committed to one religious belief or another.  To have been outrightly anti-Christian would've/could've negatively impacted his political appeal. 

He saw religion as a tool to use to communicate and control the Volk, but held no real religious beliefs.  He believed, instead, that the Nazi Party would eventually replace all religions in the spirirual life of all people.  He WAS raised Catholic but left the Church at age 15 and never again attended Mass.  There is no way that he can be considered a Christian in his personal beliefs (BTW, before y'all kick in with your criticisms, I have been a devoted atheist since my own childhood, but I don't like to see history misstated).

igorslamoff
igorslamoff

The author writes "the association between a holiday that represents a time of patience, humility and charity for Muslims across the world and Jihadist terrorism is apparently so strong with a small, vocal minority". I belong to the "small, vocal minority"@860d8787e2d59a33e11c7c56d98bfedd:disqus, of people who atended Islamic studies at University, studied the history and ideology of lslam, learnt Arabi, traveled through the Middle East and inhform themaselves in detail on Islam  and the Middle Eastfrom a broad variety of sources.

In my opinion it is perfectly justified to associate Islamic terrorism with Islam, because Islam is unique among religions in that it is elitist, militaristic and aggressive. The Prophet Mohammed left behind a huge volume of incitements to murder people [principally people who disagreed with Mohammed]. There can be no doubt that Mohammed thought liker a terrorist (so did lots of Zionists -- a former president of Israel, Shamir, gave the green light for the murder of Count Bernadotte, a United Nations human rights expert, in Jerusaslem in 1947, because he was too pro Arab in the Zionists' opinion). Shamir even as president of Israel, never renounced terrorism.  At least Yassir Arafat PRETENDED to renounce terrorism.

Islam is the only religion that commands its faithful to kill real or alleged anemies of the faith. And kill they do. Honor murders, revenges for alleged blasphemies, sectarian brawls among fifferent sects of Islam, murder out of contempt gor non-Moslems, these are all everyday occurrences in many Moslems countrie. A Palestinian Moslem e.g.  has no hesitation in murdering his own sister or daughter because she married an outsider or dates a Shia or whatever.

So stop confusing Islam with the Quakers, OK?  If Islam is viewed as a bloodthirsty religion, BY A MAJORITY OF THE POPULATION, that  finding is brilliantly confirmed by studying Islamic history and is perfectly consistent wiuth all possible relevant historical and cultural facts. I may be wrong in my opinion, but it's not for lack  of information, discussion, thinking, reading, etc. .

Of course, many Moslems reject the violence inherent in Islam. Bully for them But opposition to violence goes against the grain of Islam.

Faridapopp51
Faridapopp51

this issue is just creating problems.  who would want to shop at whole foods if the customers are not welcomed.  i am a muslim and come to shop at whole foods often.  this is stopping me to come to your stores. i would like to shop where everyone is treated equally.  acme also wants to help people.  they say if there is a something a customer needs and is not in the store, they will get it for us. SO GOOD BYE WHOLE FOODS FOR EVER.  YOU TAKE YOUR CHOICE OF HAVING JEWS AND CHRISTIANS IN YOUR STORES.

EcC42
EcC42

For your ignorant readers, Halal is cutting an animals throat, so that it bleeds to death, while and imam or cleric recites prayes to Allah.  I find this to be a cruel, and inhumane treatment of animals, and if you were not aware, you should make it a point of avoid Halal. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you should be horrorified.

Jonathan Kadmon
Jonathan Kadmon

As a guy who churned out a few 40 page papers on the crusades I can tell you that is most assuredly NOT why the crusades were started. It was pure conquest and subjugation, and that was stated explicitly by the church and the sponsoring institutions. They set out to reclaim the holy land from the "infidels" and "heathens" who incidentally were both far mroe secular and far more scientifically and culturally advanced. Some of the latter crusades actually contented themselves with the latter goal only, returning home after determining that they had slaughtered enough muslims to satisfy their bloodlust. Ironically they tended to be just as apt to slaughter orthodox and coptic christians for the crime of having swarthy skin. They werent RE-claiming anything...not really. They wanted it so they took it. By any modern (or for that matter contemporary) standard they were the most savage sorts of barbarians imaginable. They make the most fundamental wahabbists of today look like choir boys. And as a half Israeli who spent several years living there and whose pro Israel credentials are unassailable I suggest YOU do more research before mouthing off.

Antonio Strong
Antonio Strong

I just paid $22.85 for an iPad 2-64GB and my girlfriend loves her Panasonic Lumix GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS. I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $674 which only cost me $62.81 to buy. Here is the website we use to get it all from, CentHub.com

Steve Pallister
Steve Pallister

You sound like Americans who still think that killing people in Iraq and Afghanistan is to defend the USA.

The Muslims were fighting those Crusaders, WHEN THE CRUSADERS WERE INVADING THEIR LANDS and committing genocide and other atrocities. Rape was a favorite Christian crusader pastime. Unlike Muslims who usually will not disrespect civilians or espcially women even of the conquered. Sorry if Jew owned Hollywood tells you otherwise, but then Hollywood doesn;t even touch on the Hollodomor whilst it is always coming out with new Holocaust propaganda. Just don't ever question that because it is not allowed. You have to be pretty retarded to turn that table around sunshine. The Crusades were a historical atrocity committed by greedy Christian kings using religion as an excuse. They also slaughtered Jews who were well protected in Muslim societies then. The Christian Crusaders were violent mass murdering genocidal looting barbarians who had precious little faith in God, unless his name is Mammon and who had disgusting personal hygiene and other dirty habits, which were much improved by the contact with the more civilised Muslims.

Steve Pallister
Steve Pallister

Jim I hate just answering people with saying you are full of the brown stinky stuff, but sunshine you are rolling in it and regurgitating the muck simultaeously.

Islam is more like Christianity and Judaism, they they are, and it is so familiar to anyone who actually looks into it, that for example my lost faith in the whole Bible was restored by learning about Islam. Islam gives credence to Christianity which it has otherwise lost over time. It is a very simple religion (with many rules to allow people to progress at their own rate) and it is a very beautiful religion. It is a nightingale's song compared to the harsh croaking of Christian and Jewish examples these days.  As the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said to the rabbis when they questioned him about the expectations of them,

" You have all the teachings that you need if you would but follow them" 

That is in large part Islam's message for the other religions. Because we believe they are all the same religion, given at different times and changed by men over time.

Steve Pallister
Steve Pallister

The question little man, whcih you could ask, is how many Churches in Pakistan and how well respected are they. The answer is there are many and they are given great respect and reverence, Muslims are taught to respect other people's beliefs, so that our own may be respected. Indeed it is a one way street, but this is because of the inferior teachings you live by it seems. Sadly the other religions were given the same truth, but over more time they have added more man's ideas.  Insulting other religions is un-Islamic.

Steve Pallister
Steve Pallister

But it is anti-Semitic of course.   At least it is if the Jews say it is and lately the Zionist version of both Jews and Christians do feel the existence of Islam is anti-Semitism in itself. It seems my brothers and sisters just cannot die fast enough for the haters to feel secure.

Steve Pallister
Steve Pallister

Just one detail, Islam is the largest religion on the planet and it is the fastest growing in conversion and natural growth. Despite years of manipulating the data, it is widely recognised in India and Pakistan that Islam is close to overtaking Hindu as the dominant religion even in India.

Steve Pallister
Steve Pallister

Actually in defense of Christianity, the date for the celebration was chosen to co-incide with a pagan holiday, as all the Christian holy dates are. This was Constantine I think who did this, but the reason was to make a smooth transition for the religion they were touting.  There is a world of difference to your babbling.

Steve Pallister
Steve Pallister

He is Rip Van Winkle.  Seems he's been asleep so long he has no idea what is going on.

Steve Pallister
Steve Pallister

I don't think you could wake up, if you think that anything above amounts to a religious discussion. Just people attacking one religion, as usual is what I see.

Steve Pallister
Steve Pallister

Then I guess you must really be down on the USA, and Israel, given destroying cultures, nations and infrastructure is their specialty.

Steve Pallister
Steve Pallister

"Although the Islamic states were more tolerant of Christian and Jewish religions in past centuries, the non-Muslim communities were extorted and forced to pay for their right to live in those countries."

NO THEY WERE NOT THIS IS A BLATANT BOLD FACED LIE. After that I didn't bother to read the rest of your drivel.

Steve Pallister
Steve Pallister

Islam's history is replete with solid evidence. It is the Zionist west which specialises in re-writing history.

Steve Pallister
Steve Pallister

Correct.  I suppose everyone has heard of Lawrence of Arabia? That is where it began.

Steve Pallister
Steve Pallister

I am a Muslim convert and you are correct in your post. Wahhabism is a Western created and backed infiltration of Islam and it is the source of the extremism we see.

Muslims are far more tolerant and peaceful than Jews and Christians, this is a historical fact and one a person who has travelled in both words can easily appreciate. We do not like being insulted and slandered and we take great offense when our religion, holy book and Prophet are insults. We take no less offense at any of the prophets being insulted, to us all the prophets, including Moses, Noah, Abraham and Jesus are respected and honored.

This reaction by Whole Foods to a vocal minority of Islamophobes is enough to ensure they lose my business and many others, shame on them.

Mark
Mark

exactly 

gp
gp

Tell us some "fascinating things" that have come from religion...I'm dieing to know what they are. What wonderful innovations has the church bestowed upon us humans?

gp
gp

"Islam is a religion that does much harm in the world"? Really? Last I heard the German Nazis were all Christians...met with the Pope and everything. Are we all on the same planet?  Pretty sure the Jews are hammering away at the Palestinians as hard as they can...I think the Palestinians are Muslims....you do get newspapers in Texas,right?

Martin Hoffmitz
Martin Hoffmitz

Ramadan highlights tolerance in this world.  We should highlight Ramadan and partner with all tolerant Muslims for every group.

Arielle
Arielle

It would be wise for you to expand your knowledge of religion and Islam before aimlessly and senselessly criticizing my religion. Islam and Christianity are the two most similar religions in the world. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) once said, "What actions are most excellent? To gladden the heart of human beings, to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted, to lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful, and to remove the sufferings of the injured." This will hopefully give you insight into what true Muslims aim to do. Then there are those who commit violent acts and label themselves as Muslims. They are, were never, and will never be true Muslims in our eyes. I hope you can see that one cracked egg in billions does not mean the eggs are rotten.

Basia
Basia

Huh. I would have thought that the Whole Foods typical buyer was better educated - the stuff is so expensive, you need a Master's Degree to earn enough to shop there. Therefore, better educated usually means less overtly racist. Sorry, but growing up blue collar but living in both worlds, blue collar and white collar, I can tell you that white collar, even if the think it, are less likely to overtly speak or act against another religion or ethnicity. So, why would Whole Foods cave and lower their Ramadan profile?

Marcus Porcius
Marcus Porcius

LOL @ quoting CAIR.  And if it's true, we have a bigger problem than we thought.

Marcus Porcius
Marcus Porcius

Apply everything you said to all the liberal groups that constantly attack Christianity and you'd be accurate.

As for the rest of us, we are the ones who actually understand "this country's history, it's founding principles, or what it is supposed to represent."  Unlike you, we actually learned it before the public school system started teaching history according to guilty white liberals.

hw
hw

Promoting halal food is not the equivalent to promoting Ramadan. Ramadan is a holiday. Halal food to muslims is comparable to what kosher food is to jews, and many eat halal food year round. It is not a "seasonal" observance. After the many years of shopping at Wholefoods, I will certainly be boycotting. Wholefood's inclination to follow the voices of a few ignorant bigots is unacceptable and not wholesome.

Marcus Porcius
Marcus Porcius

Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.Gilbert K. Chesterton

By the way, the Constitution guarantees (unless you're Christian) that the GOVERNMENT can't establish or inhibit the practice of any religion. There is nothing in it that says a private citizen cannot be intolerant against any religion.

If the Constitution protected religions against private discrimination, both the ACLU and Obama would be out of a job.

Marcus Porcius
Marcus Porcius

I just get sick of the fact that every time somebody objects to something Islamic being promoted in this country, they're always portrayed as extremist or some such nonsense.  Meanwhile, the ACLU and other groups hunt down any expression of Christianity and threaten lawsuits to have it removed, yet they're apparently doing us all a favor.

If you want to criticize "intolerant" people, that's your right of course, but at least be intellectually honest and consistent.  In an overwhelmingly Christian country, those trying to constantly attack Christianity are the fringe.

Try attacking them for a change.

TN
TN

So, is this supposed to be a "News" piece or an "Opinion" piece, because it sure sounds like it belongs on the Op Ed page! News is supposed to be about the facts, not the writer's opinion. Or do they teach that in Journalism 101?

rustydoornob
rustydoornob

Stop spreading lies please. I've studied Islam, Judaism, certain kinds of Buddhism, and Christianity and with the exception of Buddhism, there are passages telling people to kill those that aren't of the same religion. I understand there's a huge number of terrorists..in the media, but there are also large numbers of people who just want to live their lives peacefully--just like you.

Egyptsteve
Egyptsteve

It's basically identical to kosher slaughter. Let's keep that straight.

Jonathan Kadmon
Jonathan Kadmon

Hey now if we Jews owned as much as you say we do I and many fellow members of tribe wouldnt be struggling so hard to make ends meet. would that I could just call my co-conspirators or write a letter to a sage elder of zion and have him call his buddies in the worldwide jewish banking conspiracy to get me a nice little handout or set me up with an investment bank and a golden parachute.

Jonathan Kadmon
Jonathan Kadmon

really...that explains their tendency to build mosques on top of the other abrahamic religion's holiest sites. Respect! Why didnt I see it before? Newsflash: you are not special.

Jonathan Kadmon
Jonathan Kadmon

actually not really. he's correct. also dhimmis under Islamic, Mamluk and early Ottoman empires were required to ware loud clownish colored clothes and bells on their feet and other such humiliations to mark them as non-muslims. It is in the nature of ethnic and religious majority populations to oppress minorities they deem to be "outsiders" or "the other". Burying your head in the sand when faced with unpalatable facts does not make them any less true. Furthermore no self-respecting Jew or Christian with any decent grasp of history would be so foolish as to claim their own farts dont stink in that department. You are not special. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

Mel
Mel

They get the newspaper, but unfortunately no paper tells the stories we know to be true. ...hammering would be kind...they are doing much worse than that.  ...one day they will lose.

Jonathan Kadmon
Jonathan Kadmon

Hahahaha. Sorry, marcus. All the conservative christian revisionist history in the world wont change the fact that the primary sources all disagree with you. The various founding fathers own handwriting says in no uncertain terms that you are wrong. I started reading college level history texts before I was old enough to take a history class in public school. Your right to be a christian is protected both by law and by the fact that you are the overwhelming majority in the country. Where people get pissed off at you is when a) you poop all over other peoples' rights to exercise the same priveleges and when you b) attempt to impose your mark and the character of your religion on secular public institutions which are supposed to be religiously neutral. The country is a safe zone for all religions, and particularly oppressed minorities. New England was settled by puritans, who were considered heretical and were brutally persecuted by the Church of England. Those protections are for everyone, including you (but not JUST you).

igorslamoff
igorslamoff

You say: @2a2bd8017da3025eff1f46141b65f904:disqus. Promoting halal food is not the equivalent to promoting Ramadan." My reply:: You're a g.d.m. liar! Marketing studies have shown that the consumer's mind does not make fine distinctions betrween halal and ramadan. Both terms are inextricably combined. To make the distinction you mention you must possess fairly sophisticated knowledge of Mohammedan folklore and superstitions.  That cannot be imputed to most consumers.

Egyptsteve
Egyptsteve

Is  "Marcus Porcius" is Latin for "Moron?"  The ACLU objects to religious expressions of the kind you describe on government property, not in private businesses.  You can look it up.  By the way, if you're such a great Christian, aren't you supposed to humbly turn the other cheek?  

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard

No it isn't, dumbass.  My writing about Taco Cabana is.  How stupid are you?  And Is this what I should expect from morons your age?  That's be a shame.

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