South Korean bakery chain Tous les Jours has found itself in the middle of a religious discrimination scandal in Indonesia related to what one may or may not write on a cake.
Recently, a photo has gone viral on social media showing a sign – which appears to be hastily printed – put up at a Tous les Jours store in South Jakarta.
The sign conveys to customers that in order to guarantee that its products are halal (permissible for consumption by Muslims), the store will not write messages on cakes related to other religions' holy days, such as Christmas and Chinese New Year (yep, that's one too, apparently) or days that don't adhere to Islamic teachings such as Halloween and Valentine's Day.
The sign, however, says that the store accepts the printing of congratulatory messages for birthdays and promotions, as well as greetings that do not violate Islamic sharia values, such as "I love you" and "You're the best."
The reaction against Tous les Jours online has been brutal, to say the least.
I want to order a cake for Christmas with the message, "Hi Jesus, you're the best, I love you." Is that allowed? – Shasy Pashatama (@Pashatama) November 21, 2019
Interesting. A South Korean bakery, selling European cakes with a French name, selling in Indonesia in accordance to sharia laws. – Netijen (@bukanbanananina) November 22, 2019
In a statement received by Coconuts today, Tous les Jours said that the sign was only put up at that particular store and does not represent the policy of the whole bakery chain.
"It is not the policy of our management. We apologize for the misunderstanding that arose from this incident, and we are looking into the issue," the statement read.
There is no general rule in Islam that putting non-Islamic writing on a halal product would make it haram (forbidden for consumption by Muslims).However, a few months ago, a clerical body in an Indonesian province issued an unprecedented fatwa (religious edict) declaring that edible products containing names related to hell or the devil are haram.