An Egyptian cleric is up in arms over the Starbucks logo and is urging followers to boycott the company. No, it’s not because the mermaid is too sexy (that was apparently the problem for the Saudis a few years back, and more recently for a conservative Christian group in San Diego). But because the mermaid is really — wait for it — Queen Esther.
From the Jerusalem Post (via Memri):
"The girl in the Starbucks logo is Queen Esther. Do you know who Queen Esther was and what the crown on her head means? This is the crown of the Persian kingdom. This queen is the queen of the Jews. She is mentioned in the Torah, in the Book of Esther. The girl you see is Esther, the queen of the Jews in Persia," [Safwat Higa] said.
"The Crown you see here [in the Starbucks logo] is the crown of the kingdom of Xerxes," Higa said.
"We want Starbucks to be shut down throughout the Arab and Islamic world," he concluded. "It is inconceivable that in Mecca and Al-Madina, there will be a picture of Queen Esther. Can you believe that in Mecca, Al-Madina, Cairo, Damascus, Kuwait, and all over the Islamic world there hangs the picture of beautiful Queen Esther, with a crown on her head, and we buy her products?"
FYI, Higa is wrong, at least according to this blogger, who traces the logo’s history. Also noteworthy, in an otherwise nearly empty section of the company’s website titled "Rumor Response," Starbucks has a statement outlining its operations in the Middle East and its relationship to Israel.