The Subversive “Arab”, “Islamic” Donut Ad

Sheila Musaji

Posted Jun 11, 2008      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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The Subversive “Arab”, “Islamic” Doughnut Ad

by Sheila Musaji

An innocuous photo of Rachel Ray standing in front of a tree with pink blossoms, holding a cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee and wearing a paisley scarf with a fringe around the edges was recently turned into an incident in the war on terror.  The scarf might look a little like a keffiyah (a typical Arab scarf) although I am not certain which tribe is recognized by their wearing of a paisley keffiyah.  I have trouble seeing a connection between this scarf and a keffiyah at all, but some folks saw this as somehow threatening to the very fabric of America.  Even if if the scarf in question had been a keffiyah, so what.  Is everything Palestinian or Arab a legitimate target for stigmatization?  If so, we had better do something about all the kebab stands and possibly should consider purging the 10,000 words or so that have come into English directly from Arabic.  Actually, maybe Michelle Malikin and the others who saw this ad in such a negative light might be on to something as the very word “coffee” comes from the Arabic.  There may be a dangerous plot here that justifies the use of terms such as — “hate couture”, “symbolic support for terrorism”, “mainstreaming of terrorism”, “anti-semitic”, “jihadi chic”, “a symbol of jihad”, “an icon of genocide”, “a symbol for murdering Jews”, “part of a cultural jihad” to describe the obviously sinister use of a paisley scarf in this ad.  I’m certain I’ve seen some ads including men with beards, what might that mean? 

Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs accused Dunkin Donuts of Mainstreaming Terrorism to Sell Donuts - Michelle Malkin , Pamela Geller, and Debbie Schlussel  all warned their readers about the danger of this sort of cultural subversion.

If all this can be read from a Paisley scarf, or from a Keffiyah for that matter then I will have to look more carefully at that photo for the Dunkin Donuts ad, what is the meaning of the pink blossoms?  Are there other hidden meanings.  Are we being inundated with Arab and Muslim propoganda aimed at our subconscious minds?  Where will it all end.

As Elva Ramirez pointed out in the Wall Street Journal:  “Balenciaga showed eclectically-patterned scarves which could resemble a keffiyeh at the Fall 2007 shows in Paris last February; the accessories made’s list of most wanted items. Indeed, the practice of borrowing items from certain cultures has been up for debate within the fashion industry for years. But it doesn’t necessarily deter sales: Urban Outfitters’s retails multiple scarves that bear a passing resemblance to traditional keffiyehs.”

Dunkin donuts caved in to the pressure and pulled the ads - but, perhaps they will show them in some of the other countries where they have stores.  I saw Dunkin Donuts in Saudi Arabia when I was on Hajj, and my husband has seen them in Pakistan.  I wondered when this incident first began if there would be calls for a boycott of Dunkin Donuts in the Arab world, and sure enough, this has happened, but not in the Arab World, right here in America.  According to the Gulf News there have been calls for a global boycott by a group called ANSWER due to its perceived succumbing to anti-Arab sentiment in the US.

As Advertising Age notes “Time was, the only reason a marketer would pull an ad was because it wasn’t selling stuff. Now all that’s required to knock a spot out of circulation is an outraged blogger with bad eyesight.”

It would be wonderful if Dunkin Donuts had stood their ground and not allowed a few individuals to pressure them into pulling this ad, however it would be even more wonderful if this makes a lot of folks realize just how foolish these alarmists are and how little attention we should pay to anything they promote. 


Doughnuts: The Third Rail of American Politics?, Mike Nizza

Donut ad was no terrorist fashion statementm Matt Monochio

Interfaith group blasts Dunkin’ on keffiyeh

Dunkin’ Donuts pulls ‘terror’ ad

The blogger, the chef and the terrorist, Ahmed M. Rehab,0,265018.story

Dunkin’ Donuts accused of promoting terrorism, Stephen Foley

(Do)nuts about terrorism, Haroon Siddiqui

Michelle Malkin et al.‘s war on Rachael Ray the Paisley Terrorist, Daniel Goldbloom

Conservative Idiocy over Rachel Ray and Dunkin Donuts by Jacob G. Hornberger

The Dunkin Donuts Incident:  How real hatred is tolerated in America, Ray Hanania