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Transmission

God Hits The Bottle: 'Allah' Inscription On Vodka Angers Kazakh Muslims

At less than $5 a pop, Baiterek vodka has been selling well, despite a reference to Allah on the bottle.
At less than $5 a pop, Baiterek vodka has been selling well, despite a reference to Allah on the bottle.
Religious leaders in Kazakhstan have been calling for calm after a liquor company sparked outrage by launching a new vodka that uses the word "Allah" on its bottles.

Baiterek vodka seems to be telling consumers that the drink packs a punch by carrying an inscription on the bottle that says "Allah's Strength Is Enough For Everybody."

But many Kazakhs are scandalized by the sale of such a product in the mainly Muslim country because Islam strictly forbids the consumption of alcohol.

Nonetheless, several imams have been telling their flocks not to take any action over the affront.

"I call on all Muslims in Kazakhstan to stay calm and not to succumb to their emotions over the inscription on the bottle," said imam Abdimutalip Daurenbekov from the Aqtobe region in the northwest of the country, where the vodka is produced. "Our Prophet himself forgave even those who said there is no God."

GEOM, the company that produces the vodka, reacted quickly to the furor by issuing an apology and promising to withdraw the product as soon as possible.

It claimed the bottle's design had been done by a Russian company and that it had no idea what the inscription said because it was in Arabic.

The uproar caused by Baiterek has even prompted some Kazakhs to question the sale of alcohol in the country in general.

Despite its Muslim heritage, Kazakhstan has a strong drinking culture, which has been "imported" from Russia.

In fact, the consumption of alcohol is so widespread that GEOM may have a hard time fulfilling its promise to take the vodka off the market as many shops have already sold all their stock.

"When the scandal started up, all the Baiterek vodka in my shop had been sold out," shopkeeper Quralai Yrysmaghambetova told RFE/RL.

Like the vodka's manufacturer, she also claimed she had no idea what was written on the bottles.

"If I had known about the problem beforehand and if I had some bottles left, I would have gotten rid of them as soon as possible," she said. "I am not someone who sells God's name."

With contributions from Merkhat Sharipzhanov
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: M from: Ingushetia
April 07, 2012 03:54
"a strong drinking culture, which has been "imported" from Russia."
In two years the influence from Afghanistan will put the end of the "culture".
In Response

by: Anonymous from: USA
April 07, 2012 08:50
Are you referring to drugs or extremism from Afghanistan? If you are referring to extremism, try Pakistan instead.
In Response

by: M from: Ingushetia
April 08, 2012 18:32
I am referring to the operation "cut and run" from Afghanistan. That "drinking culture" is going to run in the same direction, to Ulyanovsk.

Funny you mentioned "referring to drugs"
FYI, the punishment for drug trade in Islamic countries is death. Islam forbids drugs
"in July 2000, Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, … declared that growing poppies was un-Islamic, resulting in one of the world's most successful anti-drug campaigns. As a result of this ban, opium poppy cultivation was reduced by 91% from the previous year's estimate of 82,172 hectares. The ban was so effective that Helmand Province, which had accounted for more than half of this area, recorded no poppy cultivation during the 2001 season.[16][17]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opium_production_in_Afghanistan

Compare to:
http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5j6QonBKKMo2gw1e3ql-xUcQEZbVg
and compare again to "recorded no poppy cultivation during the 2001 season.[16][17]". Explain me how many terrorists were from Afghanistan on 9/11 again? Wasn't Taliban willing to hand Osama bin Laden to the USA via third country if the USA provide the evidence of his involvement in 9/11? Was it quickly rejected by the ex-drug user a.k.a. "W"?
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/aponline/20011014/aponline135016_000.htm

P.S. I won't "try" Pakistan because it is a CIA infested, US proxy state since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. It is a scapegoat for American failing policies in the Middle East. You can always blame them for every crime committed.
In Response

by: Faizullah from: Kabul
April 08, 2012 16:31
Dont worry there is tradition also in Afghanistan. Just more discreet. Tajikistan is not very far

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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