Muslim group says Shell ad to blame for ‘exploiting’ women


PETALING JAYA: Muslim group Malaysian Muslim Solidarity (Isma) has urged companies to learn from Shell’s “mistake” of using a woman model to sell its products and services.

This call comes in the wake of outrage expressed by several activists, politicians, and Shell itself over the circulation of pictures showing several individuals engaged in distasteful and suggestive behaviour with Shell’s promotional standee of a woman.

Speaking to FMT, Isma president Abdullah Zaik Abdul Rahman said this was the outcome when some companies chose to “exploit” women.

“Using women to improve sales of goods and services is an exploitation of women which strays far from the value of purity accorded to Muslim women,” he said. “Let this act as a lesson to other companies in the future.”

While many had thrown their support behind 25-year-old Shell employee Nor Shafila Khairusalleh, the face of the standee, Zaik said she was not completely blameless.

He said a Muslim woman should not accept the offer to become a model to help a company in its sales efforts, even if she was allowed to wear a scarf and cover up.

He said it was “natural” for men to be aroused when looking at women, but did not excuse the actions of the men.

“They should lower their gaze and be careful of their actions. What these men did shows moral decadence.

“Where is their sense of faith and loyalty to God? Don’t they know God is watching?”

He said, however, that it would be wrong to put all of the blame on the men.

“It’s not their fault alone. This incident happened because irresponsible companies will not stop exploiting our women.”