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Greek God Zeus Sparks Controversy in Muslim Malaysia

Zeus Malaysia controversy
Credit: Mario Leonardo Iniguez, CC2/Wikipedia

Coffee brand Zus Coffee in Malaysia is fighting against boycott efforts after allegations that its logo and name were derived from the Greek god Zeus.

It has a striking logo with the face of a bearded man in white, over a deep blue circle with the words ZUS COFFEE in a serif font beneath it. Detractors claim that it represents the father of the Greek pantheon, the god Zeus, as the pronunciation of the word Zus is similar to Zeus.

Because of this, some Malaysian commentators are saying that Malaysians should boycott Zus, as it depicts the visage and form of a pagan god, the Singaporean news outlet Mothership reports.

This was articulated by, but not originated on, a Facebook message posted on a page called Berita Malaysia, which said that Muslims should not patronize an outlet that promoted other gods.

Zeus Malaysia
The logo of Zus has sparked controversy in Malaysia. Credit: Facebook/Zus

Zeus condemned as a pagan god in Malaysia

Islam, Malaysia’s official religion, is followed by about three-fifths of the population. Islam is one of the most important factors distinguishing a Malay from a non-Malay, and, by law, all Malays are Muslim.

Zus’ Chief Operating Officer, in an interview with Sin Chew Daily, tried to reject the accusations that the company was promoting a Greek pagan god. Instead, he argued that the brand name was a portmanteau of the words ZEAL and US, which he said showed “the brands pursuit of excellent coffee.”

The debate has spread to Malaysia’s parliament, where Bersatu Member of Parliament Azahari Hasan was giving a speech advocating for support of local brands.

When asked if this would include Zus Coffee as a local brand, Sin Chew Daily reported him as agreeing, saying that as long as a brand was Malaysian, it should receive government support.

The calls for further boycotts have led to heated debate on social media, Mothership says.

While some social media accounts did agree with calls for boycott, many others questioned whether simply showing the face of a mythological deity with very little connection to Malaysia should warrant a boycott.

Media outlets such as Weird Kaya, Latest Malaysia and Says show numerous examples of social media users saying that the calls for boycott were unwarranted, and questioning the motives of those calling for it.

Zeus: The God of Gods

Zeus, the greatest of all the figures of Greek mythology, ruled over all the assembled gods and goddesses of the realm atop his mountain fastness on Mt. Olympus along with his wife Hera.

He was the god of the sky, lightning, and thunder in ancient Greek religion. His mythology and powers are similar, though not identical, to those of Indo-European deities such as Jupiter, Perkūnas, Perun, Indra, Dyaus, and Thor.

The most fearsome of all the ancient Greek deities in every way, he was the child of Cronus and Rhea, the youngest of his siblings, although sometimes counted as the eldest since the others required disgorging from Cronus’s stomach. He was said to have grown up on the Greek island of Naxos.

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