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. Josh

    Who cares there is nothing remotely American about Ramadan. Unless it is Top Raman!

    August 10, 2011 at 7:24 am |
    • NOo..oON

      There is nothing remotely "American" about any religious holiday, unless you want to count the commercialization of Christmas, Easter, Valentines Day, and Halloween.

      August 10, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Moli

      What is American about Christmas or Hanukkah? Both holiday's were created in another country, actually all religious holiday's we celebrate here in the US aren't ' American'...should be stop ALL religious holidays since they aren't ' American'.

      August 10, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  2. Dennis

    Bloggers....is there nothing they don't know?

    August 10, 2011 at 7:18 am |
  3. timestickin

    Hey! if they don't want to carry it, They don't have to carry it.. And if they don't want to promote it and cancel it? guess what they don't have to promote it, They cancel it!! No big deal..open up your own duddie hut an promote and sell your own devil food.

    August 10, 2011 at 7:14 am |
  4. Marv Says

    Is this even news worthy???

    August 10, 2011 at 7:03 am |
  5. Sagebrush Shorty

    Why not just have an aisle named 'Politically Correct"? Or even "Cult Foods".

    August 10, 2011 at 6:37 am |
    • Wzrd1

      Why not just shred the first amendment and have an official national religion? It seems that SOME want it to be that way.

      August 10, 2011 at 7:02 am |
  6. endeavor43

    I would guess that those who shop at Whole Foods and those who are stridently anti-Muslim are practically mutuallly-exclusive groups.

    August 10, 2011 at 6:29 am |
  7. Mercedes

    I export food to the Middle East. Our biggest sales are during Ramadan. The "fast" is just during the day - when the Muslims are all grouchy because they are hungry - and they stuff themselves silly after sunset. It is not a fast, just an altered eating schedule. Whole Foods and any other store is welcome to cash in on this.

    August 10, 2011 at 6:28 am |
    • Wzrd1

      Muslims stuff themselves before sunrise, then again after sunset during Ramadan. MORE food is consumed during Ramadan than at any other time of the year.

      August 10, 2011 at 7:03 am |
    • Frankly Speaking..

      Sad but true, the purpose of Ramadan as mentioned in the quran however is so the believers may gain taqwah (piety).. "May" is the keyword, so yeah when Ramadan concludes most people have gained hunger during the day and weight during the night..

      The prophet (pbuh) in fact strongly adviced against binge eating but we (muslims) seldom listen. Ramadan for many muslims today is more about eating than about fasting but there are many others who chose to follow guidance.. May Allah guide us all

      August 10, 2011 at 7:16 am |
    • Muneef

      Actually at Sun Set families gather together at Ramadan nights eating as if celebrations and you know when you go to food markets while still hungry fasting how much will you buy of foods and deserts..!

      August 11, 2011 at 12:23 am |
  8. uradoof

    right wing, left wing, their all good fried in peanut oil mmmm good....

    August 10, 2011 at 6:09 am |

    I don't go to Whole Foods that often because they are expensive. The times I have been they have been very accommodating. They have boat loads of everything there. I wouldn't blame them for being neutral on any holiday.

    August 10, 2011 at 5:49 am |
  10. Ismael.718

    I imagine very clearly that what Whole Foods was going to do will be of the norm in 10 years..I am so happy. I am a proud Muslim and happy to see the progress the USA is making.

    August 10, 2011 at 5:48 am |
  11. Karloff

    You will be assimilated. We are the halal...uhh...Islam...darn!...the Borg.

    August 10, 2011 at 5:31 am |
  12. deployedmarine

    who cares business has a right to celebrate or not celebrate a holiday if they want to.

    August 10, 2011 at 4:58 am |
  13. heyhey

    All stores promote lots of holidays idk why they didn't do this one as well. Holidays are just money makers anyhow. I don't believe in people who walk on water anyhow, how can any one faith be correct? Malarky. When you can't joinem make money off em rofl...... They do it to themselves too. Whats the latest Christian convention or book deal or revival party. lol

    August 10, 2011 at 4:03 am |
  14. cincypix

    Us Christians can get ham and turkey for the holidays; Jews can get matzo and borscht for their holidays; so why can't Americans capitalize on Muslims who want the highest quality sweets and meats when they break their fast?

    August 10, 2011 at 3:27 am |
    • hungryghost123

      Borscht isn't Jewish. It is a Russian/Ukrainian food.

      August 10, 2011 at 3:34 am |
    • Muneef

      HALAL foodsMIs not about the Quality the others might understand as to lower or higher Qulity but it rather means more about Purity from Condemned Biblical & Quranic issues...!

      August 11, 2011 at 12:30 am |
  15. who dat be

    halal atcha boy!!!
    Bizmala, hi-ya. (slice)

    August 10, 2011 at 3:19 am |
  16. Ronen

    They bought out CNN a few years ago, now they're mad that they can't buy out Whole Foods too? Someone must have told them, Whole Foods doesn't need bribe money like CNN does... Whole Foods doesn't have a "Christmas" promotion or "Rosh Hashana" promotion, but look who always gets their feelings offended... The SAME culture who's native countries refuse to let any other culture thrive amongst them. That's rich...

    August 10, 2011 at 3:04 am |
    • AJ

      Wow your just as ignorant as "Jacks". A muslim country that got bombed back in 2006 (Lebanon) by America's best bud, Israel, surprisingly allow Christians to not only practice their religion (building churches, putting crosses everywhere), but allow for a Christian President, with a Muslim Vice-President. Muslims, Christians, and even Jews live happily side by side in Lebanon. Wiki Lebanon:

      Muslim percentage: 59.7%
      Christian percentage: 39%

      There is even a resistance group called Hezbollah, which is mainly muslim, you don't see them interfering with the Christians or imposing any "Sharia Law". Ignorant. They live happily side by side.

      Don't forget Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and many other countries that are considered Muslim Countries, have muslim/christian ratio's in the same area as Lebanon.

      August 10, 2011 at 3:18 am |
    • Salad Spinner

      AJ, you need to learn about contractions too! "Wow your just as ignorant as "Jacks"." corrected: Wow you're just as ignorant as "Jacks".

      August 10, 2011 at 3:27 am |
    • Jeff S

      There's all kinds of promotions and foodstuffs blatantly centered around Christmas at Whole Foods. I know, because I shop there, and I celebrate Christmas. I'm surprised they would have a small, vocal group decrying Ramadan-centered food promotions though, as I thought extremists on the right here believe that organic food is of the devil.

      August 10, 2011 at 3:37 am |
    • Jeff S

      AJ, careful! You're going to shatter someone's well-conditioned, Limbaugh-esque, opiod-addled view of reality!

      August 10, 2011 at 3:39 am |
    • Sammoch Muere

      AJ: They kind of have to have a Christian president too – Christians and Muslims competed for dominance

      August 10, 2011 at 3:40 am |
    • buckup

      ronen and faith should inbreed to expand the haters club and exalt ignorance.

      August 10, 2011 at 4:19 am |
    • Martin T

      Thank you Salad Spinner, that is one of my pet peves, too. You're quite correct in your comments. Again, thank you!

      August 10, 2011 at 4:50 am |
    • Arghhh

      AJ: First of all, Christians in Lebanon were the majority just 30 years ago. Muslims are NOT allowing Christians to build churches, churches have been there for centuries. Muslims and Christians fought a very bitter and ugly civil war for 25 years. Muslims WILL control Lebanon eventually, then we will see the tolerance. Islam does not allow assimilation, and although a Muslim can live in an infidel land, he is asked to hate that country and not have allegiance except for the Shari'ah rules. Go read a bit more about Islam. Having said that, not all Muslims practice the fundamental version of Islam, but those who do are scary.

      August 10, 2011 at 5:55 am |
    • Michelle

      WF definitely does have special promotions for both Christian and Jewish holidays. Ours has nice flyers listing their catering menus for pretty much any holiday you want to celebrate.

      August 10, 2011 at 6:27 am |
    • jimmymax

      So then "AJ" quickly lists the ONLY exception. How clever.

      August 10, 2011 at 7:21 am |
  17. AJ

    Wow, I find all of that information very interesting. Im a Christian who lives in a city in America called Dearborn. If you Wiki the City of Dearborn, you will find that the city has the highest population percentage of Muslims in all of America. It's officially at 40% but it's allot more then 40%. Certain parts of Dearborn have concentrations between 80%-100% Muslims. I live on a street that has 16 out of 18 houses with Muslim families. All the information your stating totally contradicts reality. Muslims are very nice, respectable, and honorable people. Living around them my entire life, all I have to say is stop believing what CNN, Fox News, and BBC tell you and do your own research. Your probably living in Alabama, or Texas and have never seen a muslim in your life, but act as if you've lived around them your entire life. And I find it very funny how you brought up the cartoonist incident to back your claims. Why must you bring up an incident that took place over 4 years ago, and resulted in no deaths?! Have you forgotten the 1.5 million Iraqis killed since 2003? or the hundreds of thousands killed in Afghanistan? Or what about the Palestinians who had their land forcefully taken away in 1948, with 100% of America's support? Extremist exists in EVERY religion and cult. Your focusing your attention on the muslims reactions to years of bombing Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, and many other muslim countries. Do a little research and you'll learn why the people of Gaza have no choice. Stop promoting racism and ignorance, and start promoting tolerance and understanding once and a while, you'll be allot happier. Live, Laugh, and Learn......

    August 10, 2011 at 2:40 am |
    • zt

      Wow, thanks for bringing this up, we need to be tolerant towards all religions, the extremist right wing radio and blogs are taking over the country and destroying what america stands for

      August 10, 2011 at 2:54 am |
    • AJ

      Ignorant Jacks, please stop being so ignorant. Never mind me and my religion, do a little research in a city called Dearborn, Michigan. Look at the population percentage. Read about Dearborn. It is the home town to Henry Ford. The Ford World Headquarters is located in Dearborn Michigan, let alone one of Ford's biggest industrial plants (Rouge Plant) . If there are the muslim percentage is so high here, how can there not be "Sharia Law". According to the way Pbsat's percentage chart is presented, how can their not be "Sharia Law" in Dearborn Michigan? So go to any Muslim neighborhood in the country Pbsat's chart shows thats in Europe, and see what kind of lives muslims really live before you speak as if you understand. Don't mention muslim countries that are being bombed & occupied and try to compare them to America All you have to say to everything I had previously stated was that I was a liar about being Christian, and totally disregarded all of the facts?!? Stop bering so Ignorant!!!

      August 10, 2011 at 2:56 am |
    • Salad Spinner

      Gee Jacks, you are pretty dumb. You don't even know the difference between a contraction and a possessive pronoun! So look it up and learn something today~!

      August 10, 2011 at 3:08 am |
    • ashy57

      Thanks AJ. you are a candle in the dark same is Kort and muslim. ihope every one like Faith read carfuly about islam may he change his view

      August 10, 2011 at 3:11 am |
    • TPar

      I totally agree... one should do a bit of research before opening a mouth (or any other hole)


      August 10, 2011 at 3:27 am |
    • Martin T

      I want to say for the record, I think all religion is BS, but hating on someone simply because of their religion is absurd. Not all Muslims are radicals, just like not all Southern Christians are red-neck, gun toting, idiots. I do believe the world would be a better place if religion was put in the museums where it belongs, but since that isn't going to happen in my lifetime, I have to be tolerant. I do believe, just like the ancient religions of Egypt, Rome, and Greece; all religions will one day be proven to be just as false.

      August 10, 2011 at 4:56 am |
    • Arghhh

      If you want to know what Islam is truly about read Muhammad Al-Maqdisi's "Ibrahim's religion". I'm almost certain it has been translated into English. Also, if you have time, read more from Al-Maqdisi, Safar Al-Hawali, Abdallah Azzam, Muhammad bin Abd Al-Wahab, Ibn Taymiyah. Those are the ones who will tell you what Islam is about, not your 18 peaceful neighbors.

      August 10, 2011 at 6:02 am |
    • Frogist

      @Arghhh: Why do you ignore the example of the "18 peaceful neighbours"? Are they not muslim too? Do they not have a say in "what Islam is about"? Seems to me people who hold an opinion like yours only care to look at the negative examples and not the positive ones in their calculations of what Islam is about. And that means your opinion and research has been made with a bias towards the negative.

      August 10, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  18. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Right wingers choose each season to hate somebody. In the fall they hate muslims. Over Christmas they hate jewish people. In the spring they are on to hating hispanics. And during the summer they just hate fellow Americans.
    Actually, come to think of it, they don't even wait. They just hate all of them all the time.
    And even if suddenly all of these people suddenly became white republican protestants, they'd still invent some excuse to hate them, because otherwise how would they justify their pathetic little existence and their vain sense of superiority?

    August 10, 2011 at 2:34 am |
    • sciihs1958

      Hey stupid – Right Wingers is the code word for Christians. Christians are hated 24 / 7, 365 days a year. Everybody hates Christians. So get off the high horse about Right Wingers hating.

      August 10, 2011 at 2:52 am |
    • patcee

      Sciihs, I wonder why that is.

      August 10, 2011 at 3:21 am |
    • buckup

      Wow! I thought right wing was code word for fascist. Now they are claiming all Christianity. there goes the hating club, next they
      will allow buddhists.

      August 10, 2011 at 4:03 am |
  19. Amistavia

    Down with all religion, once and for all. It's time for us to evolve to a rational race.

    August 10, 2011 at 2:30 am |
    • Faith

      Atheists are the most irrational humans on earth. Go to your dream nation North Korea.

      August 10, 2011 at 2:43 am |
    • patcee

      Faith, what do atheists have to do with North Korea? There are atheists all over the world.

      August 10, 2011 at 3:31 am |
  20. Faith

    Muslims need the Bibles. There is no hope for them unless they read the Bible, though they are better than secular Americans. More restrictions on the food that can be eaten, it's better for the planet and for the whole creation. It's a blessing for creatures if they are not found by humans.

    August 10, 2011 at 1:51 am |
    • Amistavia

      Religious fruitcake.

      August 10, 2011 at 1:53 am |
    • Faith

      Mere co-existence is meaningless and will only bring about chaos. Everyone needs Christian education to be civil.

      August 10, 2011 at 2:44 am |
    • SSampson

      Are you that insane?? – You need to read a bit.... Muslims connect themselves not only to the (so called) Old Testament, but they also believe in Jesus....as a Prophet... like Mohammed is a Prophet....and they believe in the same God.... There is just as much violence in the Old Testament as there is in the Quaran.... both books contain socalled teachings and record a version of history.... of course the Old Testament in the Christian faith is bacially comprised of Jewish history...

      So what Christians REALLY want to push is THEiR version of the SAME God and THEIR prophets.... The whole thing is insane... Besides, most Christians it seems these days don't even follow their own teachings... The whole Peace and Love thing... has gotten lost in the hate spawned MOSTLY by fundamentalist Christians, Jews and Muslims.... The nutjobs of religion that has destroyed the meaining that was originally intended by those that created these beleifs....

      When you are done reading your Christian bible, I suggest reading the jewish and Musim 'holy' books and then perhaps you will see the insanity in what you say...

      BTW – Atheists have our nutjobs too... but most of those I know spend more time helping others and being 'just' people than ANY religious persons I know.... We just do it because it is right and not because our imagination tells us too...

      August 10, 2011 at 3:56 am |
    • buckup

      faith- what is your view on space aliens and tinfoil? is it safe and does it work?

      August 10, 2011 at 4:25 am |
    • uradoof

      I thought Carrie killed you after the prom....

      August 10, 2011 at 6:11 am |
    • Frankly Speaking..

      @ faith dear..

      did you read the bible ? Maybe its time to take a look..

      August 10, 2011 at 7:23 am |
    • Frogist

      @Faith: "Mere co-existence is meaningless..." This was written by a Christian.

      August 10, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • J.W

      Faith goes by a couple other names on here I think, bonnie and I forgot what else.

      August 10, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • Frogist

      @JW: I would hazard a guess you mean Adelina, FairGarden, Zelda etc... Quite frankly she sounds like so many others, I hope they are all the same person.

      August 11, 2011 at 2:35 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.