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'Muslim' Advent calendar causes Facebook fury

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'Muslim' Advent calendar causes Facebook fury
Facebook users thought Lindt's "1001 Christmas Dreams" calendar depicted a mosque. Image: Lindt Deutschland
12:01 CET+01:00
Chocolate manufacturer Lindt was the target of an online mob this week, after Facebook users mistook the building on their oriental-themed Advent calendar for a mosque.

It's an Advent calendar the company has sold for years – but suddenly, its design has caused a good old-fashioned internet furore (or "Shitstorm", as it's known in Germany).

Lindt's "1001 Christmas Dreams" Advent calendar cost €16.90 on the official Lindt Deutschland website this year, and promised 281g of finest Lindt chocolate presented in oriental packaging.

The calendars are all now sold out for 2015 - but despite their popularity, some customers aren't happy with the design.

According to the Bible, Jesus of Nazareth was born in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago. 

It was this Middle Eastern setting that manufacturers wanted to capture with the calendar's design - but the message didn't get through to some Facebook users, who mistook the image for a mosque.

"Advertisement for ISLAM, an archaic social system in which women are stoned when they've allegedly gone astray... I find it TASTELESS," one user commented on a post on the Lindt Germany Facebook page.

"I'm never buying Lindt chocolate again! It's something other customers should consider, too."

Image: Facebook screenshot

Another user commented: "Bringing Islam and Christmas together in trade... you're off your rocker."

Image: Facebook screenshot

Lindt Deutschland was quick to respond to comments, explaining that the image was not in fact a mosque - and actually depicts a scene similar to that which would have been found in the time and place of Jesus's birth.

"Hurting the feelings of our consumers is the last thing on our mind, and we are very sorry if this is the case," they wrote.

Explaining: "respect and tolerance are the basis of our trade, regardless of sex, religion, politics and beliefs," they added: "The packaging represents a visualisation of what the local surroundings would have looked like at the time.

"This includes architecture and culture that could have been present in the oriental world at the time of Christ's birth."

Image: Facebook screenshot

Other users also stepped in to defend the company - and point out that the design actually has nothing to do with Islam.

"You're not the brightest candles on the Christmas tree, are you?" asked one user.

Image: Facebook screenshot.

"I don't get why these concerned idiots think it's a mosque," another wrote. "Jerusalem, Bethlehem... all these places are in the Orient, meaning oriental architecture.

"If a bulbous spire symbolised Islam, these so-called defenders of the Christian West would have to torch half the churches in Bavaria..." he added.

Image: Facebook screenshot

"More mosques ought to be built in Germany," another user added. "Obviously many people don't know what they look like."

Image: Facebook screenshot

Written by Hannah Butler

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