Members of the Muslim community are calling on Nike to recall a shoe they claim bears a logo resembling the Arabic word for “Allah,” meaning God, on its sole.
Saiqa Noreen, who created the Change.org petition demanding that the footwear and apparel brand remove the Nike Air Max 270 from store shelves, said the symbol on the bottom of the shoe “will surely be trampled, kicked and become soiled with mud or even filth.”
“It is outrageous and appalling of Nike to allow the name of God on a shoe. This is disrespectful and extremely offensive to Muslims and insulting to Islam. Islam teaches compassion, kindness and fairness towards all,” he continued.
As of Thursday, the petition had garnered more than 19,000 of the 25,000 signatures it seeks.
It urges Nike to review the rest of its product line too, and to recall any merchandise with logos that resemble the word Allah.
“We also request stricter scrutiny of products before they enter the market,” the petition read.
Some of the petition’s signatories included their personal reasons for signing — with most saying they thought the Nike design was “disrespectful” and “offensive” toward their religion, and that they are owed an apology from the sportswear giant.
Ibrahim Hooper, director of communications for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, declined to take a position on the issue, saying that the organization is in ongoing discussions with Nike.
“It’s obvious that some people perceive it as a slight. Whether is actually is or not, that still doesn’t get rid of the perception of some people,” Hooper told CBS MoneyWatch. He suspects that any offense caused by Nike was inadvertent.
“The way we look at it, there is intentional offense, there is unintentional offense, and there is debatable offense, and I am not sure which category this falls into. Certainly not intentional, I would think,” he said.
Nike in the 1990s came under fire for a similarly controversial logo it used on a line of footwear. The company apologized and recalled shoes with the branding.
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