Mecca Cola is an Islamist alternative to the biggest-selling brand in the world: Coca Cola. With severe antagonies playing out between the US-led Western sphere and Islamist countries and groups, Mecca Cola was created to provide an alternative for the soft drink market that did not pose moral dilemmas to its drinkers. In fact, Mecca Cola was created to be a direct action against the United States' foreign policy and what the creators call oppressors of muslims.
Mecca Cola was created by French Tunisian enterpreneur and muslim activist Tawfiq Mathlouthi. Because of him, politically conscious muslims may make the decision to drink Mecca Cola as a sign of protest against George W. Bush's foreign policy after they break their Ramadan fast and later. The drink is specifically designed for the European market, with countries such as Iran already producing their own versions of this most popular of refreshments.
Understandably, some prominent religious figures oppose the use of the holy city of Mecca in a protest that is essentially a political one, let alone on the label of a soft drink. According to a BBC World News interview, the rector of the Great Mosque of Paris voiced his adamant opposition of the politicizing of religious symbols and sites. Elsewhere, voices of protest were roused in the Coca Cola camp who are, according to a Time report, "looking into" the matter of possible trademark infringement. However, an Arabic News story points out that Mathlouthi has acquired the trademarks already in August, and does not aim to oppose Coca Cola directly with his product, but rather a symbol of the all-pervarsive influence of American culture.
Mathlouthi's Mecca Cola has been a huge success since the start of sales in early November. From his warehouse in Paris he ships out over a million bottles per week. This will not, apparently, cause a dent in the long-term sales of estabilished soft drinks corporations. What is especially interesting about Mecca Cola, though, is that Mathlouthi donates 10% of all the profits to a Palestinian charity, which is stressed out as being "strictly humanitarian". As if to balance this choice out, 10% is also donated to European charities. Mecca Cola seems destined to make some mark in the world, as is seen in coverage of the product's success in many major western media.
The homepage of Mecca Cola can be found at http://www.mecca-cola.com, though currently versions exist only in French and Arabic. The prominently visible slogan, "Ne buvez plus idiot, buvez engagé" (Don't drink stupid, drink with commitment) clearly explains the attitude of the creators.
How does it taste, though? According to the aforementioned BBC World News report, "just like any other brand", though with the admittance that the correspondent is not a connoisseur.
BBC World News, 27.11.2002