Religion is a dish best served cold... with sprinkles

Our roving reporter Ryan came across this little tidbit for us, which originally appeared in Harper's Magazine. Apparently, Burger King in England is out to insult and enrage Muslims. The logo on their ice cream cones looks like the Arabic for "Allah" - if you turn it sideways and squint your eyes just right...

The young man who uncovered this outrage, Rashad Akhtar, a twenty-seven-year-old British Muslim, was outraged.
"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."

I can't imagine how depressing his life must have been before finding this, his purpose. The complete tale of this stupidity is here, but I'll give you a few highlights.

"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 think it's pretty obvious that this is a stylized swirl cone. I doubt anyone who is not well versed in Arabic would have noticed this, including the graphic artist who designed it. I'm not sure what he's talking about when he mentions spinning something that is static - obviously he is not familiar with the way a swirl cone is made - and his argument gets more convoluted from there.

"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."

Um, it's an ice cream cone. The symbol shouldn't offend anyone, unless they worship soft serve...

"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."

I'm pretty sure it means "Ice Cream"...

"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."

You're declaring a jihad on Burger King? And indirectly, on Great Britain?

As a Buddhist, I have seen many of our religious symbols and icons used (on purpose) to sell products. There is a company called Now and Zen that makes frozen vegetarian foods and another by the same name which makes alarm clocks, and yet another that makes soap. There is a chain of fast food places called Buddha's Burritos, there is a T-shirt company called Billy Buddha, the Om symbol appears on all kinds of products, etc.

When I mention this to Christian friends, they just shrug until I suggest that I'm going to start my own plumbing company and call it "Jesus Christ Sewer and Septic Service." How about "The 12 Apostles Casino" or "Mary Magdalene's Escort Service"?

The interesting thing about this is that for the most part, Buddhists just don't really care. Like the name of Allah for Muslims, the terms and symbols are sacred to us, but there is nothing that advertising could possibly do to harm them; they are unblemished in the eyes of the practitioner. If appearing on an ice cream container is enough to somehow tarnish your holy symbols, one could question their sacredness in the first place.

I'm putting together a new business plan. I'll need some start-up capital, but I'm sure "Uncle Omar's Sunni Soft Serve" will be a big success...


La Petite Fleur (AKA Tessa) said...

if i am working for mary magdaline's escort service do i get a "working name" ... like "joan the judean juggie"

inkandpen said...

Fundamentalism terrifies me.

His Sinfulness said...

"The more I study Religions, the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anything but himself."
- Sir Richard Francis Burton

Big Gay Jim said...

Oh puh-lease. The problem is that the symbol wasn't turned ENOUGH. When you give it another 90 degrees, it is clearly a brown tornado, and is meant to show offense to gay men. It's so obvious! We worship at the temple of Judy Garland, and her signature song is "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," from "The Wizard of Oz." As it's a twister ('s even deeper!) that brings litle Dorothy to the land of rainbows and gay lions, the tornado is a sacred symbol to us. How dare you post such a homophobic symbol on your blog. Gay hater. (BTW...this comment is one great big % moment. ;)

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