The Brazilian fastfood group Habib's has shelved plans to open 102 outlets in the US because of the chains' Arabic identity.

Habib's has decided to wait until next year for the US roll out because of fears that US consumers will not welcome an Arabic chain in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks and the climate of war against Muslim fundamentalists. The restaurants' logo is a Muslim figure and the outlets sell Arabic products.

"It's a complicated situation," Belchior Saraiva, Habib's Brazilian operations manager told the financial newspaper Gazeta Mercantil.

"We were counting on entering the US in late 2001 with franchises in Miami, Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville […] Now, we have to wait until the second half of 2002."

Habib's controls 180 restaurants in Brazil and four in Mexico.