Pubs around the country have had the Saudi Arabian flag removed from World Cup bunting after complaints from customers about it containing one of the holiest declarations in Islam and is inappropriate to display where alcohol is sold. Intoxicants such as alcohol are forbidden in Islam, and there had been complaints in London about the flag being on display.
The Saudi flag carries the Shahadah – the Muslim profession of faith.
Bury St Edmunds-based Greene King owns 3,000 pubs, restaurants and hotels across the UK and about 1,800 of them are managed houses and hundreds of them have put up the bunting.
Staff are removing all the individual Saudi Arabia flags from the bunting in each pub.
A translation of the Shahadah is “there is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger”.
The flags of other Islamic nations in the World Cup – including Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and Iran – are not affected.
A spokesman for the pub chain said: “To celebrate the World Cup, we have been displaying the flags of the participating nations to promote what we hope will be a great tournament for all.
“Following feedback from some customers in London about displaying the Saudi Arabia flag in a pub, we understand it was inappropriate as it contains the religiously-significant Islam Shahadah in Arabic and so we have removed it.”