May 5th, 2011 | researchmaterial
This story is all kinds of fascinating to me and my paranoid writer’s mind (write crime or horror or sf, and you need a paranoid mind):
Holy drinking water contaminated with arsenic is being sold illegally to Muslims by UK shops, the BBC has found. Zam Zam water is taken from a well in Mecca and is considered sacred to Muslims, but samples from the source suggested it held dangerous chemicals. Tourists can bring back small amounts from Saudi Arabia, but it cannot be exported for commercial use. An undercover researcher found large quantities of bottles being sold in east and south London, and in Luton…
…and it’s full of poison.
Secret recordings captured the vendors describing customers who drank it daily. “They depend on it, they don’t drink anything else,” said the owner of an Islamic bookshop in Upton Park.
So has someone poisoned fake holy water that Muslims consume by the gallon? That would be an interesting, horrible, paranoid story. But it gets worse:
The BBC asked a pilgrim to take samples from taps which were linked to the Zam Zam well and to buy bottles on sale in Mecca, to compare the water on sale illegally with the genuine source. These showed high levels of nitrate and potentially harmful bacteria, and traces of arsenic at three times the permitted maximum level, just like the illegal water which was purchased in the UK.
The holy water was poisonous all along.
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