Malaysian Mini-Mart Executives Charged Over 'Allah' Written On Socks

Three officials have been charged with abetting the alleged crime. (Representational)

Shah Alam:

A Malaysian court charged five executives from a mini-mart chain and its supplier with hurting religious feelings Tuesday after several pairs of socks emblazoned with the word “Allah” were put on sale in one of its stores. The case had drawn a rare royal rebuke from Malaysia’s king who called for an investigation and “strict action” against any party found guilty.

Photos of the socks spread on social media, sparking public outrage as some Muslims regarded them to be insulting, especially as their sale took place during the fasting month of Ramadan.

Chai Kee Kan, 57, chief executive of local chain KK Super Mart, and his wife who serves as a company director, were charged with “deliberately intending to hurt the religious feelings” in the Muslim-majority nation, according to a charge sheet seen by AFP.

Three officials from supplier Xin Jian Chang were charged with abetting the alleged crime.

All pleaded not guilty to the charges and face a maximum jail term of one year or a fine or both on conviction.

KK Super Mart has apologised for the socks, saying it viewed the matter “seriously” and had taken action to stop the sale immediately.

Supplier Xin Jian Chang had also issued an apology, saying the “problematic socks were part of a larger shipment of 18,800 pairs ordered” from a company based in China.

It said there were “only five pairs of socks” that had the sensitive word.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Masri Mohamad Daud told reporters the next hearing will be on April 29. The five executives were freed on bail.

Islam is the official religion in Malaysia, and Malay-Muslims make up over two-thirds of the country’s 34 million people.

Race and religion are thorny issues in the country which witnessed deadly racial riots in 1969.

Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar in his rebuke last week reminded Malaysians to ensure social harmony by refraining from discussing sensitive issues on religion, race and royalty.

He said errors regarding religion and race could not be allowed “whether intentional or not”.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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