Melbourne, January 31: Nike Inc. is facing pressure to recall one of its leading brands of sneakers after a customer launched an online petition alleging the design on its sole resembles the Arabic word for Allah.
Nike Inc. however said in a statement that logo was just a stylized version of Air Max trademark.
“Any other perceived meaning or representation is unintentional, it said. Nike respects all religions and we take concerns of this nature seriously”.
But the online petition said it was appalling to allow the name of god on Nike Air Max 270 shoes, which will surely be trampled, kicked and become soiled with mud or even filth.
It all started when Saiqa Noreen purchased an Air Max 270 and came upon the resemblance. Noreen then asked Nike to recall this blasphemous and offensive shoe and all products with the design logo resembling the word Allah from worldwide sales immediately.
The petition claims that Air Max 270 shoe has a logo resembling ‘Allah’ in Arabic. “It is outrageous and appalling of Nike to allow the name of God on a shoe,” Noreen said.
The campaign aims for 25,000 signatures and already has more than 16,000 people.
World’s largest sportswear company, Nike also faced some lukewarm criticism last year for featuring Colin Kaepernick in a campaign that rattled investors initially but had little response from the general consumer.
The NFL quarterback-turned-activist, Kaepernick sparked controversy for taking a knee during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and racial injustice
Nike also faced a protest in 1997, when the company’s logo featured on certain athletic shoes seemed to resemble the word Allah in Arabic script.
After the Council of American-Islamic Relations protested Nike said that it regretted any misunderstanding and said that the logo was meant to look like flames. The line of shoes were however, recalled.
Ramakrishna VenuGopal with agencies