With Europe facing terror alerts and Germany in the grip of anti-Islam protests, the supermarket chain Aldi has found itself in the middle of controversy over liquid soap bottles that depicted a mosque.
The German discount chain Aldi Süd has withdrawn its own-brand Ombia 1,001 Nights liquid soap from sale after complaints that its packaging was insulting to Muslims – only to face new complaints from non-Muslim customers demanding it be reinstated.
The packaging, which Aldi said was intended to evoke the exotic Orient, depicted a Turkish-style mosque with dome and minarets, together with a lantern and a set of prayer beads.
The row began when Muslim customers posted complaints about the design on Aldi’s Facebook page.
“I was somewhat shocked that a mosque that was depicted,” Ali Girdapoglu wrote. “With its dome and minarets, the mosque is a sight that means dignity and respect for them for Muslim people.”
Others complained that it was inappropriate for a mosque to appear in a bathroom setting, and there was a heated discussion on Aldi’s Facebook page.
“We are sorry the design of our soap has caused you distress,” the supermarket said in a post that has been deleted, according to Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper. “The product will soon no longer be available in our stores.”
Non-Muslim customers reacted angrily to the decision, claiming it was unnecessary to withdraw the product and demanding its reinstatement in Facebook posts. Some claimed there would have been no complaints if a church had been featured, while others posted pictures of other products featuring mosque designs.
The discussion has now been deleted from Aldi Süd’s Facebook page. Aldi Süd is one of two separate Aldi chains in Germany formed when the original company was split between two brothers.
—Courtesy of Weasel Zippers