US-owned fastfood companies have reported that their Thai operations are suffering due to boycotts organised by local Muslims protesting against the US/UK attacks on Afghanistan.

The Islamic Youth Association issued a statement last Saturday urging Thai Muslims to boycott US, British and Israeli products and brands, arguing that profits generated in Thailand were being used to fund the attacks on Afghanistan. The Central Islamic Committee of Thailand has since joined the campaign.

Tricon Restaurants (Thailand) operates 280 Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets and 85 Pizza Hut restaurants in areas with significant Muslim populations. A spokesman told The Nation: “We can’t deny being American brands [however, from Tricon’s 10,000-strong staff in Thailand] 70% of KFC employees in Pattani are Thai Muslims. In Hat Yai, more than 50% of the staff is Muslim.”

At the local arm of McDonald’s meanwhile, the director of operations, Kittiwat Jaturuntanon, said that the Muslim boycott should never have happened. “In fact,” he continued, “the military action (against Afghanistan) should have been avoided in the first place. War is bad for everyone. Even though we’re a US brand, all our workers are Thais, including Thai Muslims.”

McThai Co Ltd employs 4,000 people to staff 95 outlets in Thailand, including 4 in Muslim communities. About 10% of employees are Thai Muslims.