QIBLA CALLS FOR BOYCOTT OF U.S. BRANDS

Muslim Beverage Company Asks Consumers to 'Liberate Your Taste'

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BOSTON (AdAge.com) -- Qibla Cola Co., an upstart soft-drink company billing itself as a Muslim equivalent to Coca-Cola Co. and Pepsi-Cola Co., has called for a boycott of American brands over the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

The Derby, U.K.-based company in a news release today said it joins millions of people worldwide in condemning the war and encourages a "boycott of U.S. global brands known to support the American administration."

'People of conscience'
"This call has taken root in Muslim

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and non-Muslim countries amongst people of conscience," said Zafer Iqbal, managing director of Qibla Cola. "People should switch to brands that are independent of governments and their unjust policies. Qibla Cola is here to provide that alternative for people who want to liberate their tastes in purchasing soft drinks."

Qibla Cola launched in the U.K. on Feb. 4 with the tagline "Liberate your taste."

The word "Qibla" refers to the direction Muslims face when praying to Mecca.

Mecca-Cola
Qibla is not the first soft drink to use the war as a strategy to enhance marketing efforts aimed at the world's 1.5 billion Muslims. Mecca-Cola, a soft drink which launched in France last November, is making a similar pitch to a broad swath of Islamic consumers around the globe.

Since the start of the war two weeks ago, anti-war protests and boycotts of American-made goods and companies have spread around much of the world, from Bahrain and Belgium to Pakistan and Thailand.

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