[Editor's Note: This blog post's headline was rewritten to more accurately reflect the information reported in this blog.]
A Middle East research organization reports that Apple's flagship retail store on 5th Avenue in midtown Manhattan (between 58th and 59th) is offensive to Muslims. The report cites an Islamic Web site urging Muslims to spread the word in hope that "Muslims will be able to stop the project."
The report by The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), a 501 (c)3 organization based in Washington, D.C., states that some Islamic Web sites take exception to Apple's cube-shaped building design (pictured above) and that it "constitutes a blatant insult to Islam."
The reason? Because the building resembles the Ka'ba in Mecca (pictured below), is called "Apple Mecca," (by whom?), is open 24 hours a day like the Ka'ba, and "contains bars selling alcoholic beverages."
Ka'ba means cube. It is the first place Allah was worshiped. From the outside it does not look very exciting. It is made of concrete blocks. Inside it is decorated with texts from the Qu'ran.
I was just at the Fifth Avenue Apple store in NYC and don't remember them serving alcohol. The report appears to have misunderstood the intent of the "Genius Bar" and the "iPod bar." The group which "explores the Middle East through the region's media" only appears to have two valid facts in their complaint - that the Apple store is in the shape of a cube and that it's open 24 hours a day.
UPDATE: MEMRI is not suggesting that the Apple store is offensive, they merely cite "an Islamic Web site." Their function is to translate existing news reports from Arabic, not endorse or agree with those reports.