Following are excerpts from an address by Egyptian cleric Safwat Higazi, which aired on Al-Nas TV on January 25, 2009.
Safwat Higazi: Today, I would like to talk about the Starbucks coffee shop. Starbucks is to be found in Mecca, in Al-Madina, opposite the King Abdul Aziz Gate in Mecca, opposite the Al-Majid Gate in Al-Madina, as well as in Cairo. Starbucks is to be found everywhere, with this logo. This is the Starbucks logo.
Has any of you ever wondered who this woman with a crown on her head is? Why do we boycott Starbucks? I will tell you, so you will know why you should boycott this company, and what this logo stands for. As I’ve already said, it is not enough to avoid entering this coffee shop. It is not enough to you to refrain from drinking this coffee. You must urge people never to go there, but none of you should even consider throwing a stone, breaking anything, or burning [the place] down.
The girl on 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.
King [Xerxes] gave an order that the seven most beautiful girls in the kingdom be brought to him. So they held contests and auditions, and selected the seven most beautiful virgins, one of whom was the Jewish Esther, whose uncle, Mordechai – or actually, it was her cousin’s brother – was a villain. It was Mordechai who hatched this plot. Esther was one of the seven girls brought before King Xerxes in the palace. When Esther, who was very beautiful, was shown to King Xerxes, she captured his heart, and he chose her to be his queen. He placed a crown on her head, and the crown you see here [Higazi indicates the Starbucks logo] is the crown of the kingdom of Xerxes, and this is Esther, who became Queen of Persia, instead of Queen Vashti.
Can you believe that in Mecca, Al-Madina, Cairo, Damascus, Kuwait, and all over the Islamic world, hangs the picture of beautiful Queen Esther, with a crown on her head, and we buy her products.
We want Starbucks to be shut down throughout the Arab and Islamic world. We want it to be shut down in Mecca and in Al-Madina. I implore King Abdallah bin Abd Al-‘Aziz, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques: It is inconceivable that in Mecca and Al-Madina, there will be a picture of Queen Esther, the queen of the Jews.