Danish company urges Muslims to reconsider boycott

The Denmark-based Arla Foods appealed to Muslims through full-page advertisements in Arab dailies Sunday to reconsider their boycotts of its products in response to caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. Arla, Europe's largest dairy group, said its 40 years working in the Middle East enabled it to understand and respect the Muslim response "to that irresponsible and unfortunate deed," a reference to the cartoons first published by a Danish newspaper. "In this long period, we came to know the Islamic culture and values, and that justice and tolerance are basic Islamic teachings," the ad read. "Therefore, we hope that you would reconsider your stand, and we are totally prepared to work together to reach a solution for the problem of boycotting our products." Arla Foods, is thought to be the worst hit by a Mideast boycott, losing an estimated US$1.6 million (€1.35 million) each day. Arla has some US$430 million in annual sales in the Middle East, its main market outside Europe.