Suffolk

Saudi flag removed from pubs' World Cup bunting

The Air Balloon in Bristol Image copyright SWNS
Image caption One of the first pubs to remove the Saudi Arabia flag was the Air Balloon in Filton, Bristol

A brewery is removing the Saudi Arabia flag from World Cup bunting from hundreds of its pubs after complaints it was inappropriate to display it where alcohol is sold.

The Saudi flag carries the Shahadah - the Muslim profession of faith.

Greene King said "feedback" from "some customers in London" alerted them it was "inappropriate" to keep the flag among those from all competing nations.

It added the removal "was not a comment on any nation".

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Image copyright SWNS
Image caption The Saudi Arabia flag - now missing - had been placed between Iran and Japan

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.

Reports say staff are now having to cut out 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".

Image copyright PA
Image caption The Saudi Arabia flag includes the Shahadah - the Muslim profession of faith - in white writing on a green background

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."

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