Nike Accused of Insulting The Muslim Community With A Shoe Logo
The world’s largest sportswear brand released the Nike Air Max 270 shoe with the script logo on the sole resembling the word “Allah” in Arabic last week.
A Muslim customer Saiga Noreen launched an Online petition demanding a recall of the product. Titled “Nike needs to recall offensive shoe with Allah’s name from worldwide market,” the petition states that it is “outrageous and appalling of Nike to allow the name of God on a shoe.” Mrs. Noreen further describes the nature of the shoe logo design as unacceptable and offensive to the Muslim community.
The logo is placed on the underside of the shoe which is not visible while walking. Besides, a part of the stylised logo only appears to have a resemblance with Arabic when read upside down. While the accusation could be viewed as a stretch by many people, over 35,000 people have already signed the petition.
Nike faced similar criticism from the Council on American-Islamic Relations in 1997. During the protest of the company’s athletic apparel and shoe line logo, the CAIR noticed the similarity to the word “Allah” in Arabic script. At the time Nike explained that design was meant to resemble flames and regretted any confusion, following the recall of the shoe.
Despite not mentioning any intentions to recall the sneaker this time, the sports giant told Business Insider that the company "respects all religions” and takes the issues of such nature seriously. Nike’s spokesperson reassured that the logo in question “was designed to be a stylised representation of the AIR MAX trademark” which had a sole intention to represent the brand’s identity. “Any other perceived meaning or representation is unintentional," the statement added.
The shoe is truly unique in the Air platform’s history. It is the first one to be designed purely as a lifestyle shoe, rather than taking origins from sports performance. In June 2018 Nike’s CEO Mark Parker stated that the Air Max 270 was one of the brand’s most popular shoes that drove sales growth in the company over the past year.