It's nice to see the religion of Islam being incorporated into commerce all over the world. Even in non-muslim countries, you find halal-food stores to fulfil your cooking needs, or resaurants serving halal meals. Also, take a look at Islamic banking, which has taken the world by storm and is currently one of the biggest growing niches in the financal sector.
After all, with a population of almost 1.3 billion (if not more), muslims represent a good 20% of the world population; whether you like this fact or not, you have to accept that global businesses need to acknowledge this fact and incorporate this into their operations. Burger King, for example, can't sell bacon burgers in the Muslim world, and therefore need to adjust their menu to accomodate for such a market.
There is always the chance that someone manages to go too far and come up with what in reality, is a silly product/service. This has actually been fulfilled by Proton, the Malaysian car manufacturer, who came up with the "Islamic Car":
Malaysia's Proton plans to make 'Islamic car' with Iran, Turkey
KUALA LUMPUR (AP): Malaysian national carmaker Proton plans to team up with companies in Iran and Turkey to produce "Islamic cars" for the global market, a news report said Sunday.
Proposed by Iran, the collaboration would include installing features in automobiles such as a compass to determine the direction of Mecca for prayers, and compartments for storing the Quran and headscarves, Proton's Managing Director Syed Zainal Abidin told national news agency Bernama.
"What they (Iran) want to do is to call that an Islamic car," he was quoted as saying while on a visit in Iran.
"The car will have all the Islamic features and should be meant for export purposes. We will identify a car that we can develop to be produced in Malaysia, Iran or Turkey," Syed Zainal said.The report didn't give further details. (***)
Now, Proton decide to create a car, put a compass in it pointing to Mecca, and a compartment for your praying mats, quran, and so on. Okay, all very well, but to me that just sounds like a regular car with a $10 compass installed. I personally think a car needs more substance to actually get the label "islamic", and so i've come up with a list of new 'options' for the car to actually deserve being labelled that:
- The radiator can only be topped up with a 50/50 mix of coolant and zamzam water
- If you are a girl, the car will not let you ride with another man, unless you have a relative with you (ie, your brother, father, etc)
- The car can be filled up with gas any time of the day during the year, except in Ramadan, where you can only fill up the car after the sun sets
- If you are a man, you may buy up to four of these islamic cars. If you are a woman, however, you may only buy one
- No seatbelts, because if God is willing (In Shaa'Allah) that an accident will happen and you're going to get injured, a seatbelt really isn't going to stop it
- The car goes to auto-pilot mode and drives to the nearest mosque as soon as the athaan (call prayer) is heard
- The car stereo is automatically set to all the quran and islamic radio stations, and nothing else.
- The car greets you with "Al salam alaikum" every time you switch it on
Taking this into mind, it would also be great to see Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, and other religion cars. Anybody got ideas of what the options on those cars could be like?