Allah of Burgers
From a September interview with Rashad Akhtar, a twenty seven year old British Muslim, who alleges that the graphic used on the lid of Burger King icecream cones resembles the Arabic spelling of “Allah”. The interview was conducted by Davina Patel, a reporter for the London newspaper Eastern Eye. Burger King apologized and said they would redesign the lid.
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.”
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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.
From an interview with Gary Stevenson, also known as Kapal Nath, a member of the Aghori sect in Dharamsala, India. The Aghori sect, which dates back to 1000 A.D., practices cannibalism in the belief that eating human flesh prevents aging and confers other supernatural powers. Conducted in June by Hannah Thomas, a reporter for the Edinburgh university newspaper J Student.
How did you first get interested in the Aghori sect and in cannibalism?
It was pretty natural, you know. I went to Varanasi in 1977. There were loads of sadhus, and I just started naturally. Slept in the ashes in the cremation grounds and chatted with the sadhus, you know. They accepted me, and that’s unusual.
Normally they don’t let outsiders hang around with them, but they knew that I was serious, you know. The dons, the pandits – it’s like a family. They have to keep the sacred fire going – it’s where they burn the bodies. I changed my name when I met this one sadhu, really high up. He gave me my new name – Kapal means skull, Nath means great teacher.
In Varanasi there are loads of Aghoris around, but it’s pretty secretive – some of them are cannibals and some aren’t, or they don’t do it regularly, but I loved it. We perform rituals using the human skull – drinking alcohol from it gives you power, enables you to speak with the spirit. It’s this sacred primordial ritual – you know, secret, really powerful. The spirit comes into you when you eat the flesh of a dead person – it kinda speaks to you, gives you power and so much energy. I do it as often as I can, every day if possible.
You know, it’s been proven from archaeology of human remnants that all humans used to be cannibalistic. So it’s natural – it’s not wrong. The Aghoris are supposed to eat what is left behind, so it’s natural for them to eat human flesh – just protein after all. You know, in ancient times they used to live in huts, with skulls all around, like a tribute to the dead that they ate. It’s not sick. People don’t understand.
Did you not feel repulsed at the notion of eating another human?
No, not at all. I said before, it’s natural. I like the taste – it’s like pork. Younger flesh is better – babies taste really fresh. It’s the same with any kind of meat – old people have a stringy texture, like wood, but babies are like lamb. It’s like the way most people prefer lamb over mutton. Also babies are pure, so their spirit is clean. When I eat flesh from older humans, it’s like their tainted spirit comes into me. It can be draining if they have negative energy.
The best bit is the fingers, though. The police found this charred arm one day, and I wanted to eat the fingers – they’re the most tasty part of the body. It kinda smells like rawhide. It’s addictive, makes you want to do it more and more.
Where do you get the corpse meat from?
I can get it from the dons, you know, the fire keepers, the untouchables. It’s not really illegal, and lots of them are Aghoris. It’s easy in Varanasi, as it’s the holy city where people come to die – plenty of bodies. I try to get it every day when I’m there.
There are more bodies in the river, as they don’t cremate the sadhus, lepers, or the babies – often bodies [are] floating in the river, so you just pick them up from the ghats and cook them – you know, barbecue them. Sometimes families let us eat from the body of the family member they are burning. This policeman was burning the body of his neighbor, and just crushed the skull with a bamboo stick, gave it to me, so I just scooped out the brains and ate them. Lots of people were staring, but I felt the spirit come into me and [it] was powerful, blessed, you know.
Have you ever killed a human in order to eat their flesh?
Me, no, but you know, human sacrifice happens in Varanasi – it keeps the city holy. Human sacrifices please the gods, but people have to agree to be sacrificed. I’ve been asked to do a ritual killing before – what I’d do is make them fast for two weeks, to purify themselves, let them get weak and pray, then chop their head off like a goat. That way the soul would be freed. I mean, I would do it if someone really wanted me to, but I’m not really qualified. But, you know, scary stuff happens with the Aghoris – you don’t want to mess with them.