Nike is one of the most successful shoe companies in the world, but that does not mean it is free of controversy. An online petition wants Nike to recall its newest shoe, Air Max 270, because it could offend Muslims.
The cause for complaint is not the shoe itself, but the script on the sole of the shoe. The writing on it resembles the word Allah, which will be stepped on and gotten dirty with everyday use.
Saiqa Noreen, the founder of the petition, was very upset at Nike for the inscription on the sole.
“It is outrageous and appalling of Nike to allow the name of God on a shoe,” Noreen said. “This is disrespectful and extremely insulting to Islam.” She also stated that she wanted the immediate recall of the shoe and other worldwide products with the word Allah on them. This is not Nike’s first issue with the Air Max shoe as a release in 1997 had a similar issue with the Islam community.
A Nike representative has stated that the logo is not meant to be offensive, but a stylish way to present the Air Max brand. “Nike respects all religions and we take concerns of this nature seriously,” a spokeperson said about the issue.
“The AIR MAX logo was designed to be a stylish representation of Nike’s AIR MAX trademark. It is intended to reflect the AIR MAX brand only. Any other perceived meaning or representation is unintentional.”
Nike is not the only group that has received complaints about the shoe as the Council on American-Islamic Relations have also received complaints. CAIR is a Muslim civil rights and advocacy group and are used to receiving complaints about products that are offensive to Islam. “We’ve dealt with a number of cases over the years,” CAIR’s communications director Ibrahim Hooper said. “The typical kind of case would be a jeans manufacturer who liked a design, and the design happened to be verses from the Quran in Arabic.”
The petition has over 13,000 signatures on Change.org with the goal of hitting 15,000. The future of the Air Max 270 is to be determined, but Nike should take this petition claim seriously in order to not lose business.