Charles at Little Green Footballs has pointed to a reprint in Harper’s Magazine of an article first published in March. Only two months later, they either figured that they needed to do repeats for the summer crowd, or the article’s popularity demanded a reprint this quickly. I don’t know why the article was published under the title “I’m Hatin’ It,” a take-off of the McDonald’s slogan “i’m lovin’ it.” My title is far better. The Harper’s article comes from an interview with Rashad Akhtar, a Muslim who claimed that Burger King’s ice cream swirly motif spelled out the Arabic word for “Allah.” Quelle horreur! I normally don’t quote an entire article, but I’ll make an exception here. There are too many interesting bits to consider.
The Enlightenment happened at half past 12 a.m. in Burger King, Park Royal. I had ordered my food, and a French guy got talking to me and asked, “Are you Muslim?” He said, “Look at this,” and he showed me the cone. I saw it and I thought, “Wow,” like anyone would. He said, “Turn it around.”
I was thinking of my stomach. I was hungry. I would have loved to eat an ice cream. When I saw it, my mouth fell open. I dropped the ice cream. I canceled my order. That was the defining moment of my life.
The Burger King logo is there in Arabic. “Allah” is spelled exactly how it is there, and the Burger King logo is where the ominah should be. Why, there is no way it could be a coincidence. How can you say it is a spinning swirl? How does it spin on something that is static? You cannot spin it around unless you have a mechanical device. You spin it one direction, to the right, and it is offending a billion people.
I’m not talking about Muslims in the Park Royal vicinity, or in the U.K. I’m talking about globally. Everyone who sees this is going to be offended. If you put a different symbol on there, you’re offending Jews, Christians, Sikhs, or Hindus. I am going to try my best in life, so that these people do not operate in a single Muslim country again, so that we get an apology to every single Muslim on this planet in their language, in their country, on a national TV station: “Sorry. We, as an American company, are sorry. We didn’t mean to offend you.”
What angers me most is that most people, once they have finished with it, they look at it and say, “Nice cone. Nice design. Nice cone design.” They chuck it away. That is disrespectful. Don’t throw it away. Keep it as evidence. A reminder of what these people are doing every single day of our lives.
We showed this to Muslim customers in Burger King and they were disgusted. We went to the manager. “Is this true?” we asked. He said, “Yes, my brother. It is true.” I spoke to two other Pakistani Muslim guys there and they said, “We are sickened.” They were cussing Burger King.
I feel humiliated. I want to humiliate the person who did this to an extent that he never works again. I’m going to make him see that it was the biggest mistake in his life. I want to meet the guy. I want to ask the guy, “What does this mean to you?” then never see his face again.
In a way, I’m glad he did this to me. It has opened my eyes. The fear of God, the love of God, the love of not letting anyone disrespect God. Even though it means nothing to some people and may mean nothing to some Muslims in this country, this is my jihad. I’m not going to rest until I find the person who is responsible. I’m going to bring this country down.
Did you notice his level of response? He sees “Allah” in the swirl of a stylized ice cream cone, and America must crumble for it. Yeah, that’s like stubbing your toe and then shooting up the neighborhood in reprisal. Sadly, Burger King caved and apologized for this guy seeing something that wasn’t intended to be there. But Rashad Akhtar is not alone. Years earlier, Muslims reacted to another stylized logo, claiming that it, too, was the Arabic word for “Allah”–this time in the word “air” on the back of a Nike shoe. Judge for yourself by comparing the evil BK ice cream logo, Allah written in Arabic, and the Nike shoe name.
Apparently, the moral of the Nike story is that you can get some nice goodies if you claim to be offended. It’s a good gig if you can get it. Daniel Pipes wrote about this logo lunacy on his blog, and he offered up other examples that could be used to provoke outrage. The reader’s comments are interesting. I understand that it is wrong to classify a people based on a single person’s writings, but I have to point out the way one reader responded to the logos on Pipes’ blog. It’s reprinted here in its entirety, misspellings and all. I’ll bold two bits that sound very similar to Rashad Akhtar’s response to seeing the ice cream logo:
Submitted by abdulrahaman, Feb 17, 2006 at 10:36
One thing i don’t understnatd why people hate muslims and Islam? Is it because we are better than you. Or is it because we are living right and the nonmuslim are living like animals, and what’s up with the pictures of the prophet muhamed? This explains the way the nonmuslims hate the muslimes people. We don’t make fun of other people religions, so stop this stupid things or else.
One day muslims are going to do something that you don’t like if u don’t stop doing what your doing to muslims and Islam.
I noticed the “or else” threat. And there is the difference between Islam and other religions like Christianity. Madonna might choose to perform a song while hanging from a large mirrored cross in her latest tour, and while Christians around the world would condemn the act for making light of their faith, they would not tell her to change her show “or else.” But when Muslims are offended, their first response includes threats, violence, beheadings and murder.