Update – ISKCON vs McDonalds
11 February 2011
ISKCON’S ACTIONS RELATIVE TO THE MC DONALDS ISSUE
ISKCON wishes to inform the public that it is taking a number of steps to address the proposed opening of a McDonald’s restaurant in the immediate vicinity of Hare Krishna Land as well as issues consequential to our public stance of the matter.
APPLICATION FOR AN INJUNCTION
ISKCON has applied to the Supreme Court for an injunction against the opening of a McDonald restaurant in the immediate vicinity of Hare Krishna Land where ISKCON has a number of facilities including its main temple and a learning centre.
ISKCON does not wish to enter into a debate about anybody’s value system as we believe it to be a matter of individual choice, but we certainly believe that the respect of all legitimate religious beliefs is critical to our hard earned national harmony. The plural nature of the Mauritian society confers upon every citizen a duty of diligence towards the sensitivities of his neighbour.
ISKCON wishes to remind the public that it has no business in taking a view on the operations of the McDonald franchise in Mauritius or against individuals who choose to eat beef. On the other hand it views with serious concern that McDonalds chooses to operate less than 50 metres away from where it preaches cow protection, a sacrosanct pillar of its belief system. We wish to assure the public that we are in no way against business enterprise or economic development, but McDonalds total disregard for our religious conviction is way above our tolerance threshold leaving us no choice but to take legal action.
LEGAL ACTION AGAINST RADIO ONE FOR OFFENSIVE BROADCASTING
ISKCON has initiated legal action with the support of other Hindu organisations against Radio One for a radio programme entitled les Pirates de la Radio broadcast on Monday 31 Jan 2011. We consider the show totally inappropriate, offensive, blasphemous, irresponsible, and even provocative.
Our guru has been gratuitously derided as well as Hindu prayers and mantras. The nature of the act is offensive and opens the flood gates to the undermining of religious practice in all its forms and faiths risking gravest impacts on racial harmony.
CIVIL ACTION AGAINST RADIO ONE
The same radio show has caused prejudice to our organisation and to its members. It also contains grave allegations which are completely unfounded. We will initiate civil proceedings against the perpetrators in due course.
FORMAL PROTEST SENT TO HEAD OFFICE OF THE MCDONALD FRANCHISE
We have sent a formal protest to McDonald’s head quarters and they have responded promising to revert once they have looked into the matter. McDonald has been known to uphold its responsibility to the societies in which it operates and we are hopeful that they will take a positive stance on the matter.
ISKCON RESPONSIBILITY TOWARDS THE MAURITIAN PUBLIC
All our initiatives are guided by an unflinching attention to remain level headed. We are taking all precautions to explain our position to representatives of other faiths and are comforted by their understanding and support. We wish to reassure Mauritians of all faiths that we have spared no effort to contain the passion and potential tension that this situation could set off. We are also taking necessary steps to ensure that our position is not distorted or misinterpreted as being racial or radical. Ours is an endeavour based on deep rooted religious belief and social values like mutual respect. We respect the values of others and expect the same in return.
We would have chosen to manage the issue away from public attention but we feel that there is a need to keep at check the propensity of certain individuals to act irresponsibly. As the law provides for the protection of citizens and the pre-emption of irresponsible acts that could potentially have grave ramifications, we have been left with no choice but to take necessary steps.
We do encourage vegetarianism, but have never looked down or undermined any religion, culture or the culinary habit of any Mauritian. We have not prone segregation as certain opinion writers and cartoonists tend to suggest. Our temple and places of worship are opened to all as they have always been since inception. Our devotees come from a wide variety of races and cultural background all around the world. We trust the wisdom of the Mauritian public to place our view in the right context as has been expressed by our different communications and derive only those conclusions that have been intended.
We thank you all for your understanding.