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'Islamic' cola benefits from boycott

BBC News
May 21, 2002

A growing boycott of American goods in Bahrain has given an Iranian-made "Islamic" cola a boost.

Zamzam-Cola, named after a spring in Mecca that Muslims consider sacred, was among the replacements for US soft drinks after Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.

Now it is available on the shelves in Bahrain, as some Muslims boycott US products in protest at Washington's support for Israel, the AFP news agency reports.

"There is growing demand for substitutes to American soft drinks, which is what prompted us to import Zamzam-Cola," said an executive at the company importing the drink who did not wish to be named.

The tiny Persian Gulf kingdom is officially an ally of the United States, home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet.

But anti-US sentiment has increased among Bahrainis in the wake of Israel's recent incursions into Palestinian areas.

Bahrain's Burger King and McDonald's franchises have tried to stress their independence from their US affiliates.

Burger King has even been collecting donations for the Palestinians in boxes draped in the Palestinian flag.


As in other Arab countries, there have been frequent anti-US and anti-Israel demonstrations, some of which have resulted in violence.

In one protest outside the US embassy in the capital, Manama, last month, one man was killed by a rubber bullet and scores were injured.

Petrol bombs were also reportedly been thrown at the embassy during a demonstration.