Nike Air Max 270 sole design offends Muslims

Angry Muslims are demanding Nike recalls its Air Max 270 shoe, claiming the sole design is “blasphemous”.

A petition launched online on Change.org demanding the recall had drawn 22,424 signatures of a goal of 25,000 at the time of writing, (Friday).

The signatories claim the pattern on the sole of the shoe includes the word ‘Allah’ in Arabic.

Nike Airmax sole - Arab script

A Nike spokesman said no offence was intended and the company respects all religions and it takes concerns of this nature seriously.  

“The Air Max logo was designed to be a stylised 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,” the spokesperson said.

Saiqa Noreen, who launched the petition, described the sole design as “blasphemous and offensive,” demanding the product’s immediate withdrawal globally.

“Nike has produced the Nike Air Max 270 shoe with the script logo on the sole resembling the word Allah in Arabic, which will surely be trampled, kicked and become soiled with mud or even filth,” she wrote. “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.”

Nike became involved in a similar controversy in 1997 when it had to recall thousands of pairs of Air Bakin’ sneakers following complaints from Muslim customers. In that case, a flame-styled font spelling the word ‘air’ was interpreted by complainants as Allah in Arabic.   

Noreen said after that recall, Nike claimed to have tighten scrutiny on logo design. “So why has a similar design been approved? We also request stricter scrutiny of products before they enter the market.”

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