Malaysia king slams mini-mart chain over ‘Allah’ socks

The king said said "strict action should be taken against any party found guilty" based on investigations by the authorities.

Malaysia’s king on Tuesday condemned a convenience store chain and called for an investigation after several pairs of socks emblazoned with “Allah”, which means God in Arabic, were found for sale in one of its stores.

Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar said in a Facebook post that “strict action should be taken against any party found guilty” based on investigations by the authorities.

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The king serves as the official head of Islam in the Muslim-majority Southeast Asian country.

The rare royal rebuke reminded Malaysians to ensure social harmony by refraining from discussing sensitive issues on religion, race and the royalty.

The socks bearing the word “Allah” were being sold in one outlet of local chain KK Super Mart, sparking public outrage after photos of them were shared widely on social media.

Some Muslims regarded the controversial clothing as insulting, especially since the socks’ sale was during the fasting month of Ramadan.

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 1961.

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KK Super Mart has apologised for the socks.

“We view the matter seriously. Immediate action has been taken to halt the sale of the said stockings,” it said in a statement last Wednesday.

Its supplier Xin Jian Chang has 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.

“Contrary to earlier reports, it has been confirmed that there were only five pairs of socks bearing the sensitive word,” it said.

Sultan Ibrahim said errors regarding religious and race issues cannot be allowed.

“Whether it is intentional or not, whether it is imported or exported in a local factory, I want the enforcement authorities to investigate and take strict action,” the king said.

© Agence France-Presse

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