Case 1 (Group Work) Guilty by Association The Boycotting of Danish Products in the Middle East.pdf

Case 1 (Group Work) Guilty by Association The Boycotting of Danish Products in the Middle East.pdf

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Journal of Business Case Studies October 2008 Volume 4, Number 10 35 Guilty By Association: The Boycotting Of Danish Products In The Middle East Ahmed Maamoun, University of Minnesota Duluth, USA Praveen Aggarwal, University of Minnesota Duluth, USA ABSTRACT We present a business situation encountered by several multinational corporations as they faced social boycotts of their products in countries where the policies of their home country’s government were unpopular. The case examines the issues surrounding the boycott of Danish products following the publication of cartoons depicting the likeness of Prophet Muhammad in what was interpreted as blasphemous by Muslim consumers. Keywords: Boycotts, Freedom of Speech, Blasphemy, International Marketing INTRODUCTION n September 30, 2005, Denmark's largest newspaper Jyllands-Posten printed twelve drawings depicting Prophet Muhammad. In one of the drawings, an image assumed to be that of the Prophet appeared with a turban shaped like a bomb strapped to his head implying that Islam preaches violence and condones terrorism. The images, considered blasphemous under Islam, caused uproar among the Muslim masses around the globe and triggered a diplomatic crisis with Arab and Islamic countries. Islam prohibits any drawings of Prophet Mohammad. Muslim scholars and religious leaders considered the controversial cartoons a “crime of aggression” against the Islamic nation and urged the Danish government to denounce the incident (Khaleej Times, February 22, 2006). Arab League Secretary General, Amr Moussa, went even further by describing the offensive cartoons as part of a “battle against Islam” rather than a symptom of clash of civilizations (Khaleej Times, February 28, 2006). The Danish newspaper that had published the cartoons refused to apologize, and maintained that “print ing the cartoons was a way to ensure freedom of speech in the face of intimidation from radical Islami sts” ( Copenhagen Post, December 28, 2005). The Arabic media insisted that the publication of the “blasphemous cartoons” had nothing to do with the freedom of expression. They reiterated that the freedom of expression did not mean freedom of “insult, defamation and slander”, and while demanding an apology, suggested economic boycott and political action. According to the Khaleej Times, a major English language daily newspaper published in Dubai, United Arab Emirates: “freedom of expression is one thing, but it should not be confused with acts of inciting feelings, which is what has happened in Denmark .”( Khaleej Times, February 2, 2006). Whether this fiasco was a cultural misunderstanding or an emotional overreaction, Danish multinational companies were caught in the middle. O
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Journal of Business Case Studies October 2008 Volume 4, Number 10 36 MULTINATIONAL COMPANIES AND CONSUMER BOYCOTTS Every consumer purchase can be viewed as an endorsement of the company making and marketing that product. Conversely, by choosing not to buy a certain product from a certain company or country, consumers can
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  • Spring '17
  • amiruddin
  • Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy, Arla Foods, Danish products

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