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‘Allah’ socks spark uproar, backlash in Malaysia

Police have urged all organizations and individuals to refrain from actions that may disrupt public order
KK Super Mart in Malaysia is facing public ire despite issuing a public apology after a controversy over sale of China-imported socks printed with word 'Allah' that sparked a call for boycott of the store.

KK Super Mart in Malaysia is facing public ire despite issuing a public apology after a controversy over sale of China-imported socks printed with word 'Allah' that sparked a call for boycott of the store. (Photo: KK Super Mart/Facebook)

Published: March 19, 2024 11:22 AM GMT
Updated: March 19, 2024 12:08 PM GMT

Malaysian police inspected a factory and seized several pairs of socks printed with the word ‘Allah’ following a national outrage and call for a boycott of a popular convenience store chain, says a report.

District police chief Assistant Commissioner Ismail Dollah and 40 police officials inspected the Xin Jian Chang Sdn Bhd factory at Batu Pahat in Johor state on March 19 and seized five pairs of socks with Allah word, The New Straits Times reported.

The factory stacked the controversial socks, reportedly imported from China, for packaging and distribution to outlets of a supermarket. 

Dollah said the investigations were ongoing and confirmed that “no other socks bearing the word 'Allah' were found besides those that had been seized.”

The factory imported 16 bundles consisting of 18,800 pairs of socks from China, which were later distributed to three outlets of the supermarket in Malaysia.

The supermarket chain came under fire after socks with the word Allah printed were found in outlets. A video of the controversial socks on display sparked a social media storm.

The distributor of the socks reportedly received threats from anonymous sources that the factory would be burned down.

Media reports say the store issued a public apology and returned the socks to the factory following the controversy.

However, the youth wing of the United Malay National Organization (UNMO), a ruling coalition partner, called for a nationwide boycott of the supermarket chain.

In a Facebook post, UMNO Youth chief Dr. Muhamad Akmal Saleh reaffirmed his stance on March 19, saying that boycotting the convenience store is not incitement but just being steadfast with Islamic principles, the Malay Mail reported.

Saleh was reportedly reacting to criticism from Tourism Minister Tiong King Sing who alleged he was only "adding fuel to the fire."

In Islam, the Arabic word Allah is the most common term representing God. Muslims revere Allah as a sacred word.

Police said they are investigating it considering it as a case of insulting religion and causing mischief by circulating statements, or materials.

Dollah urged all organizations and individuals to refrain from holding flash mobs, gatherings, or demonstrations related to the issue.

He said any action that could disrupt public order, violating laws, would be dealt with strictly.

Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, the crown prince of the royal family in Johor state, instructed the authorities "to take decisive action" to ensure that "such issues do not happen again."

Muslims make up more than 60 percent of Malaysia’s estimated 34 million people.

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