Of Muslims, Macs, and MEMRI

An odd and probably increasingly typical story about Muslims and, now, Macs:

Recently, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) stated that an anonymous Islamic website in the Middle East urged Muslims to show their outrage at the Apple Store in New York City, which built a pavilion coincidentally resembling the cube shape of the Ka’aba, the ancient structure in Mecca towards which all Muslims pray (the actual structure is glass, though MEMRI referenced a black plywood cover during construction). Predictibly, the post brought out cries of indignation from people upset that Muslims would be offended (yet again). But missing in the report was the name of the purported website, why it was considered authoritative on the matter, or any actual offended Muslims (our straw poll garnered a collective shrug, along with much respect for Steve Jobs, himself the son of an Arab). It’s not the first time the controversial organisation has selectively framed an issue to show Muslims in a less than positive light, nor is it the only instance of pre-emptive outrage attributed to Muslims in recent months. Take the case of a Kate Moss advertisment across the street from a New York mosque. The idea that Muslims might be offended by this went from blog post to mainstream media, somehow becoming “hundreds” of Muslims “infuriated” along the way. Nobody bothered to ask Muslims, though. In fact, no Muslim ever complained. A similar story happened when a UK art gallery pulled some sexually explicit art pieces depicting young girls so as to not “shock the population” of Muslims who live in their east London neighborhood. As with the above, no Muslims actually complained, but it didn’t matter – the damage was done, and Muslims were labeled anti-art without even having a say in the matter.