Coca Cola’s Name campaign is not #ShariaCoke but #Shareacoke
Take the survey below: Should Coca Cola add the name Mohammed to the list of Names?
By Ray Hanania
Calm down people. Coca Cola has a brand new marketing gimmick that has raised a few eyebrows, but it is not endorsing “Sharia Law” or taking sides in the emotion-driven Middle East conflict.
The new Coca Cola bottles features one of 250 common names on each bottle and recently, I was able to find one named “Jordan.”
Underneath is the Twitter hashtag “ShareaCoke” which some people have misread as “ShariaCoke.”
“Sharia” is the Islamic word to reference Muslim Law and has been used to drive anti-Muslim and anti-Arab hate campaigns in Detroit and cities around the country where the rising empowerment of American Arabs has been cast as something negative.
Sharia Law, which is spelled differently in translation from the Arabic, references the “moral code” and religious law” of the followers of the Prophet Mohammed, believed to be the messenger of God, which in Arabic is “Allah.” Although Muslims recognize the Biblical prophets of Judaism and Christianity to the point where many view Islam as a continuation of the evolution of Biblical religious beliefs, political conflicts and wars over the past 1400 years have driven huge divisions between Muslims and non-Muslim peoples and nations.
Coca Cola certainly was not trying to encroach on the endless conflict, but when some see the labels, they may see the wrong thing, as did some officials at Starbucks when they first proposed a drink called “Teazy,” which is Arabic translates into “my derriere,” to use a less offensive term for the “read end” of a human being!
The most unique combination of the name and Hashtag is displayed in a recent bottle I purchased at Jewel Osco in suburban Chicagoland.
The name on the bottle is “Jordan,” which is both a common American name for boys and girls, and also the name of the Arab country bordering Palestine and Israel.
Coca Cola has 250 names, which you can search (click here) and none of them include Arab countries. In fact, of the 250 names offered there are many Arab, Muslim, Jewish and Christian names on the list, but many that are not. Many common Hebrew and Christian names adorn the Coca Cola bottle labels.
There are no bottles with the name Mohammed, Abdullah, Fareed, Mahmoud or Ahmed, for example, even though Mohammed is considered the most popular name for a boy in the world. You can go online by clicking here to view the 250 names that are on the bottles. But there are many Arab and Muslim names including Ali, Amir, Hannah, Hassan, Jamal, Noor, and Omar.
The name Abraham, which is both Arab and Jewish is not on the list but Ibrahim, which is an Arab pronunciation of the name, is on the list.
Of course, putting the name Mohammed on a Coca Cola bottle might cause protests both among the small segment of the extremist Islamic community that believes that not only should the name of the Muslim Prophet be used in any commercial venture, his image cannot be used either, and among the large contingent of fanatic anti-Arab and Muslim haters. In the 1977 movie “The Message” starring Anthony Quinn who played Hamza, the Muslim world protested against Moustapha Akkad when word leaked that he was planning to show the face of an actor playing Mohammed.
The name of the President Barack Obama is not on the list but the name of George W. Bush is on the list. Some Americans, as many as 25 percent, believe that President Obama is a Muslim, even though he is a Christian born in Hawaii of an American mother (from Kansas) and Kenyan father.
Anti-Sharia Law protests have been frequent, including in Detroit where the Arab and Muslim community is large and active. Click here to read about one.
But the purpose of the Coca Cola campaign is clearly not related in anyway to any religious significance or to any Middle East political conflict.
Who decided to pick what names? The 250 that are listed seem like a lot, but they are not. You can come up with many names, Jewish, Christian and Muslim, that are not on the list at all.
Would you be upset if the name Mohammed were included on the list? Take the poll below and record your answer: