Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Have It Muhammed's Way

I can't count how many ways this is a bad idea.

Some quick-thinking entrepreneur has opened up a halal burger joint in one of Paris' economically depressed Muslim suburbs, and the BBC and AFP are falling over themselves in a rush to see who can applaud the loudest. "Beurger King Muslim" opened its doors three weeks ago. The caption of this photograph accompanying the BBC's article says, "Women staff at BKM have the option to wear a veil without criticism."
But does she have her hairnet on?

The question is, will they have the option not to wear a veil without criticism? Besides, women staff at McDonald's in France (which has a franchise just down the road from the new BKM) are already free to wear the hijab without fear of criticism, especially since the chain lost a discrimination suit seven years ago for their old no-headscarf policy in England.

The chat on French websites doesn't seem as concerned with that issue as with the overall "ghetto" effect this might exacerbate. Young Muslims in Paris "Cites" like Clichy are already somewhat alienated from French culture. Is this really the answer? Two posters on a thread on Forum FR (it's in French, naturally) raised concerns about communautarisme, which I believe translates as arrogant xenophobia fed by isolation from society at large. (Talk about the shoe fitting!) They were immediately accused of racism. Did America export that kind of nonsense to France along with McDonald's, or is it just a sort of natural mutation multiculturalists everywhere develop to counter the evolutionary pressure of good sense?

Anyway, it'll probably do as well as Mecca Cola. At least until they get a cease-and-desist letter from the real Burger King in a week or two ... unless the King is too afraid of starting another Muslim boycott of their stores. They've twice been forced to knuckle-under to Muslim pressure, first in 1999, when a BK franchise opened in an Israeli settlement on Palestinian land, and again in 2000 when they had to rename a character in one of their ads. A boy named "Rasheed" couldn't possibly want to eat a bacon cheeseburger, claimed CAIR and other Muslim groups at the time. Well, now Rasheed can walk on by those Zionist hash-slingers, step up the counter at Beurger King Muslim, and wrap his fingers around the new "Bakon Halal." We shall see.


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