Meat your maker

By Phil Plait | July 22, 2008 2:17 pm

Do you think it’s just fundamentalist Americans who see signs of God in every stain, wood grain, rock, and piece of baked goods?

Nope. Muslims see them too. We knew this already, but I think this one is marginally better, if by better you mean "you don’t have to squint quite as much to see it."

A Nigerian restaurant has been serving pieces of meat that appear to have the word Allah inscribed in them in Arabic. And by inscribed, I mean written out in the gristle.

OK, first: ewwwwww.

Second, sigh. Here’s a picture of the meat with the word Allah next to it in Arabic:

Allah in the meat

There is a resemblance, if you ignore the misplacement of the vertical stroke, and the strong diminution of the tail on the left of the chewy apparition. Also, if you’re predisposed to seeing God in pieces of torn, boiled, and fried animal flesh.

Third, sigh again. Guess what was said about the meat? "This was just a funny coincidence, and we all had a good laugh and then ate the meat"?


“When the writings were discovered there were some Islamic scholars who come and eat here and they all commented that it was a sign to show that Islam is the only true religion for mankind,” he said.

That’s not terribly convincing under any circumstances, and less when you take in all the wacky pareidolia seen in the United States. Whose God is the right one? Scholars and laymen have wrestled with that for millennia, and I have a fleeting suspicion that a chunk of animal muscle isn’t the right piece of evidence on which to bet a whole lot of epistemological credit.


Comments (45)

  1. Phranque

    As I was looking in the mirror this morning, I realized that the freckles on my right cheek bear a striking resemblance to the constellation Gemini, signalling to me that I must have a twin out there somewhere. Knowing that I don’t actually have a twin, it can mean only one thing. God.

    Hey, if he wants to cuddle a piece of dessicated meat for the next few years, he can knock himself out.

  2. Davidlpf

    To bad isn’t a peice of pork.

  3. aleph1=c

    Right in the center is Jesus suspended from an invisible cross. Clearly this is a sign that…

  4. JackC

    I am sorry, but all I see is more suited for the Kama Sutra than the Quran.


  5. alcari

    Are you telling me you people don’t see the three wise men giving tribute to baby Jesus, with the Virign Mary standing by on the right?


  6. AEryn

    I dunno, I’m squinting pretty hard and I can just barely make out the Allah. I do, however, see a very strong Jesus figure right in the middle.

    New ad campaign for this twisted restaurant: TWO GODS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE!

  7. James

    You know, every single plate of spagetti with two meatballs looks like the FSM… Not just the occasional one, but all of them. I think that trumps one poor cut of meat.

  8. jtradke

    I saw the Jesus. Now I don’t know what to believe!

  9. The person appears to be holding it up by their left hand. I thought that would go against the cultural norm for this culture. I’m just saying.

  10. @Davidlpf:
    Man, that would have been amazing. They would have simply declined to make out any shapes? LOL

  11. BMcP

    Allah may be tasty but he sure is fattening! :]

  12. @jtradke:
    Science might help make the decision, eh? 😀

  13. Robbie

    What the hell kind of meat is that? It looks disgusting.

  14. @Robbie:
    I think they petrified the meat. LOL

  15. Ouch, no hat tip? I’m hurt.

  16. Law Mom

    “I think they petrified the meat. LOL”

    Mmm, Allah jerky.

  17. That doesn’t even look edible. Ewwwwwwww!

  18. Ryan

    I agree with those saying Jesus is visible on this, not Allah. Proof that Jesus Christ is the One True Lord!

    In fact, it looks like there is Jesus and a serpent.

  19. Lessee… I see…

    0) the letter “w”
    1) Allah (as suggested)
    2) Jesus (as suggested)
    3) A xenomorph wearing oven mitts (far right hand side)
    4) A dong, complete with vein (see middle of “w”)
    5) A snake (the white bit in the “w”)
    6) An aft-quarter view of a hornet (upper right hand corner)
    7) Jason Voorhees (the Jesus, but if you look closely at the ‘head’ it looks like it’s wearing a mask)

    Comment upon my wisdom. Clearly Allah and Chainsaw Jesus are part of a phallic couple as supported by aliens who like baking. Of course the plagues soon to come to our world are prophesied by the snake and the hornet… or the snake could be symbolic of Satan the Deceiver, meaning this is all a waste of our time. 😉

  20. Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Meat your maker

    And with that, Phil removes any possibility of claiming this blog is “family friendly”. 😉

  21. Tim

    I like my religious visions to come in the form of grilled cheese only.

  22. My favourite detail is the conclusion that it validates one religion, when the name “Allah” is used (in arabic-speaking and -writing countries) for the deities of at least two.

  23. bjn

    Looks more like a mastodon molar to me.

  24. Celtic_Evolution

    I see a dumpling that fell behind the couch and was discovered 3 weeks later…

  25. Hugo

    I was eating spaghetti last night, and as I paused to take a sip of water, I noticed a shocking resemblance:

    Exhibit A:

    Exhibit B:

    It’s a sign showing that Pastafarianism is the only true relgion for humanity.

  26. Ray C.

    It seems that any vague four-pointed squiggle looks like “Allah” in Arabic. It’s been seen on Nike tennis shoes, Burger King ice cream cones, waves of the 2006 tsunami, and FSM knows where else.

  27. Lara

    Oh man, that’s a piece of meat? Before I read the article I thought it was suppose to be a fossil or a rock.

  28. TheBlackCat

    Meat your maker

    And with that, Phil removes any possibility of claiming this blog is “family friendly”. 😉

    Don’t do that. I laughed so hard my food almost came out of my mouth, and I wasn’t eating anything at the time.

    Looks more like a mastodon molar to me.

    That was the first thing I thought too (okay, I thought “mammoth molar” but I’m not picky).

  29. So it is ok to have a piece of gristle with Allah written on it but name a teddy bear Mohammed and you get 40 lashes.

  30. Sir Eccles

    I’m going to burn your embassy!

  31. madge

    Mammoth molar was the first thing that came to my mind too. The second was George Carlin’s “Fussy Eater” piece…
    “Did you make this?
    Was there a picture in the cook book?
    I bet it didn’t look like this?”
    We miss you George.

  32. Ad Hominid

    I’ll put our tacos, chocolate stains, gnarly bark, and plywood patterns against this mummified mystery meat of theirs any day.

  33. Heather

    My students last week were looking at mitosis in peas and found this:


  34. Helena Constantine

    Its Venus rising fromthe sea on a clam shell–but since the Greek Gods were never silly enough to communicate with humanity in this way, I wouldn’t worry about it.

  35. Gary Ansorge

    Gee, I wonder how many times they threw away a PICTURE of Mohammed, because as we’ve been told(by Muslims) pictures of a living(or dead) being are blasphemous.

    Maybe Muslims are more left hemisphere oriented than Christians???

    Gary 7

  36. How about if the Christians and Muslims fight it out in a reality show?

    “Tonight on the Food Channel–The Archbishop of Canterbury battles The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem for culinary glory and religious supremacy. Alton brown and the Dalai Lama will provide the gustatory genuflections!”

    I’d watch it.

  37. Gary Ansorge

    I just found this reference to myths in an article from the washington post about myths and the Federal Reserve. I think it’s really appropriate to this post, even though it’s about money,,,

    Why am I bothering you with this stuff in midsummer, a time when I’d rather be off drinking something cold than trying to deal with the Fed?

    Because myths get in the way of understanding.
    And if there were ever a time when understanding the Fed’s powers — and limitations — matters, that time is now.

  38. Blondin

    That is clearly an image of a fish! Perhaps it’s a sign to eat fish instead of meat? Maybe it’s a reference to a Darwin fish! Perhaps it’s a sign that evolution is the only true explanation for the origin of species!

  39. strahlungsamt

    @Codswallop: “Tonight on the Food Channel–The Archbishop of Canterbury battles The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem for culinary glory and religious supremacy. Alton brown and the Dalai Lama will provide the gustatory genuflections!”

    You mean Toasted Cheese Jesus vs Moldy Meat Allah :)

  40. strahlungsamt

    And the Winner gets to be


  41. BILL7718

    Front page on today:,2933,389761,00.html

    A story about seeing religious icons in food. LOL.

  42. andhakari

    If it had been an image of Mohammed, what would be the correct thing to do?1)kill yourself;
    2)kill the cook;
    3)kill everyone;
    4)kill the pig — oops, already dead.

  43. Wendy

    It’s a scary world we live in!

  44. skyshooter

    Is it pork by chance? If so then there maybe a problem! LOL!

  45. areallsame

    Ok, these people are stupid. But, how will you guys feel when others ridicule the excitement you get from a petrified piece of a bone? We are all bigots somehow…


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!


See More

Collapse bottom bar