Almanack: A big McMistake

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The Independent Online
RELIGION and sport seem to be inextricably linked this week.

McDonald's scored a pre-World Cup own goal when they inadvertently printed words from the Koran on hamburger bags promoting the tournament. Saudi Arabia was not best pleased and diplomatic telephone lines were soon humming.

It seems the fast-food merchants had included the Saudi flag on bags featuring the emblems of World Cup teams without noting that the flag included the words 'There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his Prophet.' Moslem groups in London were swift to complain to the Saudi embassy.

But by Thursday McDonald's had the situation under control. A spokesman for the embassy said: 'Representatives from McDonald's have personally assured embassy officials that any offence caused by this genuine mistake was entirely unintentional.' (Translation: some Grade A grovelling has gone on).