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“Socks of God” sparks protests in Malaysia – News

“Socks of God” sparks protests in Malaysia – News


A supermarket chain in Malaysia sold socks with “Allah” written on them. The head of the chain and others involved are put on trial.

Religion is a sensitive issue in Malaysia. Most of the people in the country belong to Islam. The use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims is already controversial there. Seeing the term printed on socks is seen by many as a provocation – especially when it occurs during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan.

Malaysian supermarket chain KK Super Mart, which sold the socks, apologized. The sale was not intentional. The socks have been removed from the range. KK Super Mart blamed the supplier. He, in turn, is considering suing the Chinese company from which the socks were purchased.

Multiple accusations despite apologies

Despite the apology, the founder of KK Supermarket and his wife are facing charges. They are accused of “deliberately hurting religious feelings.” Several representatives of the Malaysian supplier are on trial for aiding and abetting.

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Swatch watches already sparked tension in conservative Malaysia last summer. The government had banned the sale of watches with rainbow designs. According to the government, these things hurt morale. Because they represent the LGBTQ movement. There were police raids on stores.

Not only the watches themselves were banned, but also their wearing or packaging materials. Penalties range from a fine to three years in prison. Homosexual acts are also prohibited.

The sold socks sparked protests among the country's Muslim majority. One branch was attacked by a Molotov cocktail. After the arson attacks, the Malaysian government warned of escalation. She called on citizens not to stir up “racial controversy.”

The government points to the relatively large Chinese minority. There have been frequent tensions in the past. “The supermarket chain affected in the current case belongs to ethnic Chinese. The supplier also has a Chinese name. “The government wants to prevent the re-emergence of tensions between different groups,” explains Martin Aldrovandi. He is SRF's Southeast Asia correspondent.

Even the King of Malaysia is taking a stand

King Sultan Ibrahim also commented on the incident. This should never happen again nor should it ever happen. Now the founder of the KK Mart chain has given him an audience. According to media reports, he warned companies to be more careful about the products they sell. But he is also said to have warned those who took advantage of the incident and incited residents. The whole thing needs to be finished as quickly as possible.


Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar said that the incident should lead to serious consequences.

Reuters/Hasnoor Hussein (01/31/2024)

There have been no other incidents since the third attack or attempted attack on the KK Mart store. However, calls for a boycott continue. Aldrovandi suspects that “this sock scandal may not be the last such unrest in Malaysia.”