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The cookies in question
| Credit: © QuietJosephine/Getty Images

Just how intense has Islamophobia become in some parts of America? Earlier this week, a community in Pennsylvania was practically brought to a standstill over a box of cookies, simply because it had a bit of Arabic writing on it.

On Monday morning, police were called to the Marshalls Creek Gulf station in Marshalls Creek, Pennsylvania, after someone reported seeing an apparently suspicious looking box that had been left at a gas pump. The station was closed down, as well as a nearby nursery, and at least three police cars blocked off the station while a bomb unit out of Scranton came to investigate.

A local reporter with WNEP-TV eventually tweeted a photo of the package in question, which was nothing more than a box of twelve Halwani Bros Maamoul Date Filled Cookies. Far from suspicious, the box that features a mix of both Arabic and English writing (including an explanation of what the product is, written in English) can even be purchased on Amazon – albeit for the very suspect price of $10.99. Who the hell is paying $11 for twelve boxed cookies??

In the end, the gas station reopened by noon the same day, and authorities said no charges would be filed. Turns out, as with most cookies, the most dangerous part of these sweets was their sugar content.

As Food52 points out, it’s somewhat ironic that the cookies in question are Maamoul, being that in the Middle East, these cookies are actually eaten by people of many different faiths – not just Muslims, but also Christians and Jews. The site even refers to the cookie as a bit of a “cultural neutralizer.”