ALMATY, Kazakhstan – Kazakh authorities say a new vodka brand that uses the word "Allah" on its bottles is being withdrawn from circulation after protests from outraged Muslims.
Officials in the northwestern city of Semey said in a statement Thursday that the local distributor of Baiterek vodka insists it has no reserve stocks.
Islam strictly forbids drinking alcohol. The use of the Arabic word for God in a decorative motif on the bottle has incensed believers in several Kazakh towns. The motif reads "Allah's Strength Is Enough For Everybody."
Local media say makers of the liquor have apologized for the blasphemy, saying it was unaware as nobody in the company could read Arabic script.
Ethnic Kazakhs are mainly Sunni Muslim, but religious attitudes are generally fairly relaxed.