An Afghan entrepreneur has faced public backlash after introducing Rumi Vodka in Holland, a move which he claims was aimed at further familiarization of the West with the famous Persian scholar and poet Mawlana Jalaluddin Muhammad Rumi Balkh who is famous as Rumi.
However, the Holland-based Afghan entrepreneur Mr. Badakhshani has told BBC that the growing public outrage, mainly among Turkish citizens living in Konya city of Turkey as well as in Holland, has forced him to halt the sale of Rumi Vodka.
Badakhshani has said that he has received several threats from Turkish people, mainly after a famous Turkish reporter published a story about the sale of Rumi Vodka, branding it an insult to Islam and Mawlana.
The 36-year-old Afghan entrepreneur who has been living in Holland for 14 years, introduced the Rumi Vodka brand three years ago.
According to reports, Rumi Vodka’s main ingredients include Khurasan wheat, Afghan cumin, Iranian almond extracts, and other Iranian spices and a poem of Mawlana Rumi and a picture of Sufi whirling are also printed on the bottle of the liquor.
Badakhshani was selling around two thousand bottles of Rumi Vodka annually before facing a public backlash.
Badakhshani says a widespread campaign is also underway against the brand of his Vodka and he has even received a letter from the mayor of Konya city in which has asked him to stop the sell of Rumi Vodka and has urged the authorities in Holland to prevent the provocative move, claiming that he has sent the letter on behalf of more than two million residents of Konya city.
In the meantime, Badakhshani has rejected the reaction and outrage of Turkish citizens emphasizing that Mawlana had nothing to do with Turkey because he was born in North of Afghanistan but was forced to leave Afghanistan due to the threats of the extremists, claiming that people with similar extreme ideologies are threatening him for his brand of Vodka today.
In response to a question about whether he had thought that the brand of his Vodka ‘Rumi Vodka’ would spark backlash considering the religious status of Mawlana among Muslims, Badakhshani has said that Persian speakers recognize Mawlana as a poet and philosopher who had also written about alcohol which was previously being served in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan among the persian speakers but was banned by extremists.