August 9th, 2011
08:58 PM ET

Whole Foods denies canceling Ramadan promotion

By Alan Duke, CNN

(CNN) - Whole Foods and a company that produces traditional Muslim foods disputed online reports Tuesday that the grocery chain has bowed to right-wing pressure and canceled its Ramadan promotion.

"Whole Foods Market is not cancelling our current halal promotion, which is centered around the time frame of Ramadan," company spokeswoman Libba Letton told CNN Tuesday.

The controversy centered around "halal-certified products" produced by Saffron Roads.

"It's more of a tempest in a teapot," Saffron Roads CEO Adnan Durrani said Tuesday.

The tempest was fueled by a blog published by Houston Press, which quoted an e-mail sent by a Whole Foods manager to some store workers.

The e-mail said "It is probably best that we don't specifically call out or 'promote' Ramadan," according to the blog. "We should not highlight Ramadan in signage in our stores as that could be considered 'Celebrating or promoting' Ramadan."

The e-mail suggested the Ramadan promotion "has generated some negative feedback from a small segment of vocal and angry consumers and bloggers."

Whole Foods "never sent a communication from our headquarters requesting stores take down signs at all," the company spokeswoman said. "We have 12 different operating regions and one region reacted by sending out directions to promote halal and not specifically Ramadan after some online negative comments."

Durrani blamed the e-mail on "just one outlying, regional person who had no authority to speak."

The blog was "charged with lightning" and quickly went viral on Twitter and Facebook, he said.

"The bloggers like to blog," Durrani said.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Food • Ramadan

soundoff (324 Responses)
  1. Adam

    If we as amrricans put as much attention and anger towards the mobs in congress that are raping us blind as we do to a simple news article then we would be better off.

    We are all weak human beings. We dont dictate to our organs to function but they function on their own. We cant dictate a simple eye lid to stop fluttering for more than a few seconds and it flutters on its own yet we sit here trying to dictate how others should live.

    I am a muslim born and raised in america and this problem is on all sides of humanity and with every religion but the real problem is with our own sick minds. Because muhammad, jesus, abraham, buddha and for the atheists your own himan nature teaches to be kind to one another and concerned for each other.

    No child crawls from his cradle cursing different people but rather it is a mental disease acquired by force of his or her surroundings and family.

    As the prophet Muhammad said.. succeasful are they who see only the good in others and the wrong in their own actions.... self destroyed are thet that see only the wrong in others and see only the good in themselves.

    August 10, 2011 at 12:04 am |
    • changomango

      Your religion is intolerant of others as seen in EVERY Muslim country. And Muhammad said many things most of which were violent and intolerant.

      August 10, 2011 at 12:13 am |
    • CNN Reader

      Adam, .....and whatever is said..forget religions..

      ...........the "TRUTH" there is salvation thru ONE God – Jesus Christ.

      August 10, 2011 at 1:41 am |
    • Faith

      @CNN Reader: Amen. The Word of God, the Holy Bible, says Jesus is God and He is the only way of salvation. Jesus is the Savior of the world.

      August 10, 2011 at 1:54 am |
    • Frogist

      @Adam: Excellent post! I agree with you completely. Ignore the proselytizers and bigots who haven't got vision enough to recognize the wisdom in what you've said.

      August 10, 2011 at 9:32 am |
    • AndyMandy

      Stop saying that Muslims are intolerant of others when in fact it is others who are clearly intolerant of Muslims right now. just read the posts and see with your own eyes. And you Christians, Jesus worshipers who keep posting about your bible and the need for muslims to repent to Jesus, what kind of tolerance are you showing? Is that what Jesus would do? To laugh in peoples faces and say haha youre gonna go to hell because you don't believe Jesus is God?! For your information muslims do believe in Jesus as a prophet, but they do not worship people like you do, they worship God. Jesus is a Prophet, is a person, he is not God. And why don't you go and promote your religion in the Synagogues, and the Buddhist and Hindu temples? Something wrong with that or u like to hit exclusively on Muslims heads? Oh oups I forgot, Islam is the second biggest religion after Christianity, maybe that's what bothers you? Go and attack some other people for a change. We as Muslims are so close to you Christians in terms of beliefs but u do not see it? We believe in God and Jesus! Jews don't believe in Jesus, and Buddghists and Hindus dont even believe in 1 God! It's peoples choice! Why u have to try and convert a muslim to christianity, simply because he posted a comment on cnn?

      August 10, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  2. DGH

    why......nothing like the hate fill conservative....the only God the worship is greed and power.

    August 10, 2011 at 12:04 am |
  3. jason

    religion is fake. take your ramadan back to an islamic country.

    August 9, 2011 at 11:39 pm |
    • khan

      take christmas back to your country...oh btw..go back to your trailer and watch fox news.

      August 10, 2011 at 12:08 am |
  4. J.W

    Amazing how this story is bringing out such ignorance

    August 9, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
  5. Mark

    I really don't see why people don't butt out about a store's (or anybody's) decision to *not* promote something. If it's a bad business decision, their problem. You don't see men complaining about Ladies' Nites, do you?

    August 9, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
  6. Pooky

    Why can't a store sell or promote whatever it so chooses?

    August 9, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
    • Mark

      Exactly. I thought we had a free market?

      August 9, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
    • Nimrod

      They can. Of course,people are also free to boycott that business if they choose also.

      August 10, 2011 at 12:04 am |
    • Frogist

      @Pooky et al: And we are all within our rights to criticise the store's actions or inactions. This is the free market at work.

      August 10, 2011 at 9:36 am |
  7. AmericanGUY2010

    We got Navy Seals getting killed because our commanders put ALL OF THEM on ONE chopper. Our economy is in the tank, the Dollar is declining, Jobs are going to India and China (Thanks Apple) , and now Americans are turning against Americans because one prays to "Jesus" and another prays to "Allah" – Bin Laden may be dead but he won the war. This country is going down.

    August 9, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
    • RonnieReagan





      August 9, 2011 at 11:45 pm |
  8. AmericanGUY2010

    I love how these American right wing "Christians" think they are so devout and so good. Wasn't it just 50 years ago that you were lynching blacks in the South and making them sit on the back of a bus because they were black!?!? Have you forgotten? Where was your "Christ" then???? –

    August 9, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
  9. brighterUS

    More muslim = more trouble and nonsense like this

    August 9, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
    • tldixon

      and people who think like you just agitate problems-I shall call you Whirlpool for you must agitate

      August 9, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
    • brighterUS

      @tldixon... please read halal_murphy's last two sentences and it will make your blood boil too.

      August 9, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
    • worker22

      I was working outside doing lawn service at an apartment complex and it was so hot outside, over 100 degrees. I was dying out there, and the only one that came outside to give me a drink of water was a muslim – in an apartment complex with over 1,000 people from other religions or 'ways of life' it was the muslim that had the courage to bring this man some water.

      August 9, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • CW

      BrighterUS – And because one idiot says something stupid, it's ok to condemn an entire religion?

      August 9, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • Yasyas

      Did you even read the article? It wasn't Muslims making a stink.

      August 9, 2011 at 11:31 pm |
    • pfeffernusse

      @BrighterUS, I just hate how all you Christians protest at soldiers’ funerals. It’s disgusting and disrespectful.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
  10. tldixon

    it sure is getting ridiculous out there...who can afford to shop at whole paycheck anyway?

    August 9, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
  11. Halal_Murphy

    I do not know where all these hate coming from. Muslims are part of American society and still people, in this country, view them as they are aliens. Though Muslims outnumber Jews in the U.S., but Jews have the acceptance and free tax money to Israel from poor tax payers. We hear Hanuka and other Jews holidays that no one dares to talk about it. It seems right wing extremist feel scared about Muslims. Do not worry much. It is a reality that Muslims will rule the world again: very soon and there is no one who can cover the sun with their hands. Islam is the sun and your hate is equivalent only to a small hand.

    August 9, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
    • x15pilot

      Your message is exactly why we are suspect of you - your last two sentences betray your soul.

      August 9, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
    • brighterUS

      100% agree with x15 pilot

      August 9, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
    • ARASH

      The day that Muslims take over , is the last day of civilization of human beings. Wake up buddy !! there are more than 10 millions Muslims from other countries living in US, the reason is one thing , and one thing only : THEY HAVE ISLAMIC GOVERNMENTS IN THEIR OWN HOMELANDS < AND THEY HATE IT!!!!!!!!!!!

      August 9, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
    • Mark

      Well, I started thinking that you had a point, until you brought out the "Muslims will rule the world' crap. Hello, anybody home? Talking like some Jihadist extremist isn't the best way to get your point across. You just ruined everything you said with that statement.

      August 9, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
    • Muneef


      Well yes your last comments were not appropriate to be said...because if ever Islam would come it would be by interest and invitation but not by forcing it's way in...times has changed and there are no slaves to release from slavery as was in the past... Now it is free will that count and only free will might bring it and nothing else...

      August 10, 2011 at 12:30 am |
    • Frogist

      @Muneef: Thanks for calling out HALAL_Murphy on his ideas of domination. I know it isn't easy to disagree with someone who is supposed to be like ourselves. It's too bad more believers of every religion don't do the same.

      August 10, 2011 at 9:43 am |
  12. Nymrod

    kinda stupid.. they dont have to "promote" ramadan to have halal food but why not carry it? Its only good business sense. There are millions of muslims in this country like there are Jews etc.. if you can carry kosher foods, why not carry halal foods?

    August 9, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • Halal_Murphy

      I agree with you Nymrod 100%. It is awkward that this country LOVES Jews and hates Muslims. Israel spies on U.S. and takes their people's money without even saying thank you. America lost when they elected someone like Bush and Ragan.

      August 9, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • westmetals

      they do carry it. This whole thing equates to the difference between advertising for "winter" vs. "Christmas".

      August 9, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • California

      I buy halal and kosher all the time and I am just a white heathen devil.

      With these I know what products I am buying.

      Can you say the same about your beef, chicken or other foods?

      August 9, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
    • Katelin

      Halal_Murphy " It is awkward that this country LOVES Jews and hates Muslims."

      We love Jews because they arent ramming planes into buildings and blowing themselves up. DOH!

      August 10, 2011 at 1:04 am |
    • Frogist

      @HALAL_Murphy: Actually according to some recent FBI stats, we don't "love jews and hate muslims". Anti-jewish hate crimes make up the vast majority of recorded hate crimes in this country, followed by hate crimes against muslims. In other words, there is still a lot of hate to go around.

      August 10, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • pfeffernusse

      @Katelin, just like ALL Christians protest at soldiers’ funerals, paint swastikas on synagogues, and burn Qurans, right?

      August 11, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  13. ed

    Who cares??? Why should a store be forced to promote Ramadan just because the liberals are stupid?

    August 9, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
    • Lonerider

      then why should they promote Passover, Easter or Christmas?? Get your hand out of the sand. This is America.

      August 9, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
    • >.

      corporate profits

      August 9, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
    • HotAirAce


      Why do you think "iberals" are behind this? I would have guessed it would have been right-wing, probably evangelical, christians that would have been upset by seeing ramadam being promoted...

      August 9, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
    • MagnumPIE

      Ed, you're a very stupid man...let me repeat, very, very stupid.

      August 9, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
    • Dan

      Yet another conservative who can't read the article because of all the big words.

      August 9, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
  14. dejah

    I wish the Christianists would just leave things be. They can't stand it when any other religion than theirs gets attention; they're like babies with stinky diapers, screeching for attention and when they dont' get it, and can't force their beliefs on anyone else, they yell. Why should any religion get special attention? Religions already get tax breaks in the US - forcing the rest of us to pay higher taxes. Welfare queens - that's the Christianist way of getting their way.

    August 9, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
    • ed

      Actually the problem is Muslims complaining because a store doesn;t want to promote their holiday! At least they are nto blowing up buildings for that offense, or killing people here for drawing cartoons, or beheading their daughters for talking to boys here in America, at least not yet!

      August 9, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
    • x15pilot

      How do you know the complainer or email originator was a "Christianist"? Might they have been Jewish or Buddhist or Hindu? There is some point however to how we have bent over backwards to please a certain religion these past years - of course the "religion of peace" that beheads innocent people on the internet, stones people, chops off appendages, blinds people, runs daughters over with cars, keeps women isolated in medieval costumes, runs 4 planes into oblivion killing thousands in the religion's name. Yes, let's make sure we celebrate Ramadan.

      August 9, 2011 at 11:05 pm |
    • J.W

      Religion doesnt force anyone to pay more taxes? They dont get any more tax breaks than other non profits.

      August 9, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
    • >.

      are you fu ck ing retarded

      August 9, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
    • Frogist

      @dejah: We don't know who made the complaints. While it might be plausible to assume it was "Christianists" who complained, we should not rush to judgement. That is what happened in Norway when everyone thought the killings were done by muslims.
      @ed & x15pilot: A bit of advice: go read Adam's post at the top of the page.

      August 10, 2011 at 10:46 am |
  15. Luckyray

    GLEN 'What the heck' Beck

    August 9, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
    • Robert Johnson

      Wow! Very clever! Next, you'll be calling your third grade classmates clever things like "fatty", "four-eyes" if they wear glasses, and other really smart and funny things.

      August 9, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
  16. Willard Shmekel

    The "outlying, regional person" will soon be reporting to his new assignment as a trainee bagboy at the Whole Foods store in Oxbutt, Mississippi.

    August 9, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
    • Chi

      Oh, great. Now let's start hating on Mississippi. Everybody knows that Oxbutt is in Missouri. It's near Branson.

      August 9, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
  17. Luckyray

    Why is there a slant always towards pleasing some religious crowd or the other. Is there such a big cry about buddist holidays, or hindu holidays not being offered promotions ! Well its just scale of economics. ! So why is it special about ramadan or some other festival...

    August 9, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
    • Lonerider

      What's so special about Christmas? Muslims never asked for the signs to go up but store did it on its own and taking it own because some ignorant bigots like you are upset. and then you complain that there isn't freedom of religion in Saudia.

      August 9, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
  18. Stephanie

    Haha and the "left-wing" blogosphere were all over it. Fail!

    August 9, 2011 at 10:30 pm |
    • Dave

      As they should have. One person in their company still did this...get it?

      August 9, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Stephanie: Why aren't the "right-wing" blogosphere all over this? They are the ones always saying people should display their religion proudly. Or is that only true when it's Christians?

      August 10, 2011 at 10:30 am |
  19. wondering

    I know, this way off the subject, but who is Nancy Grace, and why isn't she very popular? I've read some very sarcastic remarks about her. If she is on TV, I don't get her where I live.

    August 9, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
    • J.W

      Nancy Grace is a lady who has a show on cnn headline news. She started covering the Casey Anthony Case like 3 years ago. She was really the reason that Casey Anthony has become famous.

      August 9, 2011 at 10:30 pm |
    • Dave

      Nancy Grace is not very popular because she is overzealous and too outspoken. Not only that, but she lost her old job for prosecutorial misconduct.

      August 9, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
    • Michael

      N. Grace is a loud-mouthed, self-righteous former D.A. who acts like her stuff doesn't stink.

      August 9, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
  20. wondering

    It only takes one person to up-set the applecart.

    August 9, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.