A Malaysian TV station said Monday it withdrew an advertisement marking the Muslim festival of Eid al Fitr after the ad’s Christmas-like theme was criticized for being “un-Islamic.”
The private TV3 channel last week began airing the one-minute commercial marking the end of the Ramadan fasting month. The ad showed a white-haired man wearing an Islamic skullcap taking children on a magical rickshaw for a ride through the sky.
But some viewers in Malaysia said the character was reminiscent of Santa Claus, and several groups demanded that the ad be retracted. There was also criticism that the ad featured a lotus flower, which is linked to Buddhism.
“TV3 apologizes on the airing of the advertisement … which has offended many people,” the station said in a statement, adding that it had been taken off the air. “We will be more cautious to avoid similar incidents … in the future.”
Some 60 percent of the 28 million people in Malaysia are Muslims.
They live alongside the large ethnic Chinese and Indian communities, who previously expressed fears that the country was being “Islamized” and that their rights were being eroded.