Just Say No to Danish
Beirut, Lebanon
By Abraham Lustgarten

(FORTUNE Magazine) - The fury over a Danish newspaper's cartoons of the prophet Mohammed--depicted wearing a bomb-shaped turban in one--shows no signs of abating. Last month Danish embassies in three countries and this consulate in Lebanon were ransacked, and at least 16 people have been killed in violent protests. Danish products have also come under fire. A grass roots consumer boycott of everything from feta cheese to diabetes medicine has spread across the Muslim world. Hardest hit is Danish dairy exporter Arla Foods, which has seen store shelves cleared of its products in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, where it controls two-thirds of the market. "We're not selling anything," reports spokeswoman Mette Schoube, who says Arla is losing $1.6 million a day--about 7% of its revenues. The company has suspended production at a Saudi factory employing 800 people. It's not clear whether the boycott will have a substantial impact on Denmark's $85 billion in annual exports. A spokesman for container-ship operator A.P. Møeller-Maersk, Denmark's largest company, which does a lot of business in the Middle East, says he's worried about employee security but hasn't yet seen any falloff in business. Top of page