By Athar Azimabadi
‘Plz vote against “Kaaba” Bar (to be opened in New York)’ read the subject line of the email. It came from a dear friend of mine, who often forwards me online petitions against some anti-Muslim atrocity
or the other to join, which I generally ignore. But this one piqued my interest, and I clicked on it.
The email carried the photo of what appeared to be a Kaaba-like structure standing on a street-side. “Shocking?” it asked, then proceeded to add: “In the business area of MID TOWN MAN HATTAN in New
York a new BAR is opened in the name of APPLE MECCA which is familiar to KAABA MAKKAH. This bar will be used for supply of Wine and Drinks. The Muslims of New York are pressurizing Government of USA not open
This was followed by a juxtaposition of the structure and the real Kaaba in Mecca, along with a couple of long shots of the building under construction, showing workers on hydraulic lifts around it. The email then urged readers to sign an online petition against the opening of the Kaaba Bar. “Please raise your voice against US Govt and Jews of their shabbiness to Muslim world… Please do Forward this mail to as many people as you can. We need to wake up and to stand for the dignity of our RELIGION ISLAM!”
I have to admit I was shocked. Yes, we know about Islamophobia spreading in the West, of minarets being banned and burqas being snatched. But this really was taking it quite far, and appeared a deliberate attempt to incite Muslims.
I foresaw the online protest movement soon shifting offline, and swathes of Muslims around the world demonstrating – perhaps violently– against a wanton, wilful affront to Islam.
My only question was, why wasn’t all this happening already? Surely a Kaaba Bar was more inflaming than the Danish cartoons or The Satanic Verses.
I got my answer soon enough, in yet another email from my dear friend. “As-salaamu-alaikum, a couple of hours ago I forwarded you a mail on ‘Kaaba Bar’. I now realise, after being corrected by a friend, that
the news in that mail was (in)correct. So, please don’t sign the online petition, as requested in my previous mail.”
The whole thing was a hoax! No Kaaba Bar was coming up, in Manhattan or anywhere else. Some basic research had shown that the email –floating around for a long time – was a means of inciting Muslims
The place being talked about was a normal Apple Store, addressed 767 Fifth Ave., New York City, NY 10153. The photos of the structure were taken when it was under construction; they showed a temporary outer
scaffolding. The final building is a transparent glass structure.
Shocking? Perhaps not. Not when we see all the other ways in which Muslims are being incited to throw reason to the wind and jump headlong into a ‘global jihad’ against ‘kafirs’. Not when we see
decontextualised Quranic verses and doubtful ‘Ahadees’ being bandied about to urge Muslims to kill other Muslims (not to mention non-Muslims) in the name of Islam.
The LIE of the Kaaba Bar is no different from the LIE that every Muslim suffers repression at the hands of Christians, Jews and Hindus, that the whole non-Muslim world is out to destroy Islam, and that
Muslims must ‘decontaminate’ Islam and adopt a fanatical, belligerent interpretation of its tenets if they are to survive.
Muslims will do just fine if they start sanitising the community of these rumour-mongers and liars.
My friend’s second email added: “Actually, we all should refrain from forwarding such mails, until and unless we verify their authenticity. I sent that mail in good faith, but now I realise my folly. Jazak Allah.”
Like him, I hope all Muslims who fall into the trap of liars realise their folly.