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German beer company Eichbaum issues public apology for printing Saudi Arabian flag on beer bottle caps

Monday, May 14, 2018

On Friday, German beer company Eichbaum issued a public apology and said they have halted their marketing campaign of printing caps of beer bottles with flags of 32 countries participating in next month's FIFA World Cup in Russia. Saudi Arabia's flag printed on a beer bottle was condemned by many on social networking platforms.

Alcohol is banned in Saudi Arabia. It is considered haraam in Islam, meaning Muslims are prohibited from consuming alcohol. Saudi Arabia's flag bears the Islamic shahada, or the creed "Kalimat al-Tawheed", that is "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammed is the messenger of Allah" ((ar)) Arabic language: لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا الله مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ الله . Saudi Arabia's embassy in Germany published a statement on Twitter saying printing the flag with shahada on beer beverage "constitutes a violation to the holiness of the word, an insult to the flag and a provocation against the feelings of Muslims".

The Mannheim-based company, in their statement, said, "We have no interest in religious or political manifestations — certainly not about our products. If we have offended you unintentionally, we apologise." Company's marketing director Holger Vatter-Schönthal said, "We did not know that the characters were a creed. We have only checked whether the flags of the participants are correct."

The marketing strategy was condemned by Saudi Arabia's embassy in German capital Berlin. Eichbaum said they are trying to remove all the beer bottles bearing the Saudi Arabian flag.


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