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October 18, 2002

Cola wars as Islam shuns the real thing

Our Saudi friends punish us by depriving Arabs on their pilgrimage to Mecca of....Coke and Pepsi. Perhaps our Lefty college students can get on this camel bandwagon.
AMERICA may be girding for war with Iraq but it is already fighting “cola wars” throughout the Middle East.
As a boycott against US products spreads across the Islamic world, Muslim manufacturers are taking on America’s biggest brand names by producing their own fizzy drinks.

Factories in Iran making Zam Zam Cola are struggling to keep up with demand for their slightly sickly version of Pepsi and Coca-Cola.

Ten million bottles of Zam Zam have been exported to Saudi Arabia and Gulf countries in the past four months and the Iranians are working overtime to churn out enough of their cola to slake the thirsts of the two million Muslims expected in Saudi Arabia for the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

This cola has been so successful that others are racing to get in on the act. Tawfiq Mathlouthi, a French Muslim entrepreneur, will launch Mecca Cola in Paris next month. No superstar is being paid millions to sing its jingle but there will be an advertising campaign promising that 10 per cent of the profits will go to a Palestinian children’s charity