Nike always seems to make it to headlines through one way or the other. While often its for things like its classic gear, at other times it may also be for more controversial actions. Just recently, Nike launched a new sports shoes line called Nike Air Max 270. Seemingly, the shoes looked like, well, the way any decent brand of shoes should look.
The front view of the pair looked pretty okay too…
Hmm, they actually look quite trendy.
But if we look closely, the logo for these series of trainers, looks something like this
If we look for it, something specific can be spotted within the logo
Yes! A vaguely formed ‘Allah’ can apparently be spotted, written in Arabic, on the sole of the shoe.
Even though it’s written as a part of something, it can still kinda be spotted
Now, since this is specifically written on the sole of the shoes, it can be seen as disrespecting the holiness of the Almighty’s name. With the reasoning that shoe soles touch the dirtiest and muddiest of places, it is almost like ill-treating the sanctity of the name, itself.
An angry protester called Saiqa Noreen started an online petition against Nike to recall the sale of the shoes.
An online petition was started urging people to force Nike to recall the logo and stop the sale of the newly launched brand. It was seen as ‘blasphemous’ and ‘insulting to Islam’, for which it encouraged all Muslims to sign the petition. The petition has now reached 35,000 supporters online.
A Twitter backlash was also seen with regards to this, where people bluntly bashed Nike for carrying out such an act.
People believed that this might cause Nike to crumble!
NIKE is up a muddy creek, since the mirrored image on the bottom of Nike Air Max 270 when stepped into mud shows an image reminiscent of Allah in the soil. Wonder how long it will take before NIKE crumbles…https://t.co/OeaNwtPkNY
Hey, NIKE, "Allah" is not the God of the Bible.
— LARS-TORALF (@LarsToralfS) February 1, 2019
Some agreed that it was disrespectful, and urged others to sign the petition
Nike has produced Nike Air Max 270 shoe with script logo on sole resembling word Allah in Arabic, which will surely be trampled, kicked & become soiled with mud or even filth. This is disrespectful and extremely offensive to Muslims and insulting to Islam. https://t.co/WLgnzmDVDx
— Moє ۞ (@fajrfirst) February 4, 2019
I request a 1.8 billion population of the earth (Muslims) not to buy any @Nike products bcz they r disobeying Allah. See the pictures here and go through the link, you will find the truth.#boycottnike #NIKEairmax #India #Muslims #PMOIhttps://t.co/qYCCXULVmV pic.twitter.com/MQjAcY7L0G
— MD FAISAL ASHFAQUE (@FAISAL_ASHFAQUE) January 30, 2019
People were seen discussing how brands need to be sensitive towards religious sentiments
Petition asking for an Air Max 270 recall. This a great lens to examine how design lands in different cultures, something global brands always need to thinking about. https://t.co/IRdnzgr7tk
— Michael Dolan (@MichaelDolan) January 31, 2019
Some were seen pleading for peace in the world through this
What a shame! @Nike act #blasphemous by writing #Allah on "Air Max 270 Trainers". You should #remove all the articles atonce & stop further production. This world is for #love, don't fill it with #HATE. Its not only #offensive to #Muslims rather offensive to the whole #mankind pic.twitter.com/kRJcKlfviP
— umar ishaque butt (@capisces) January 29, 2019
However, there were also those people who did not seem to notice anything derogatory
As a Muslim and an Arab, I can confirm that it DOES NOT say "Allah" at the bottom of these @Nike AirMax shoes. Look at all the negative press this idiot and their petition has attracted. You come across as hypersensitive moaners with a persecution complex.https://t.co/MrZDANzX9M
— Tallha Abdulrazaq س (@thewarjournal) January 30, 2019
They shed light on how it was just written a certain way – not meaning to actually include the name itself.
So Allah in Arabic is spelled Airmax?
— Matt Samuel Berlioz (@mattsberlioz) January 30, 2019
Nike did respond to the allegations as the petition began to circulate more and more. In a statement, they had the following to say:
“Nike respects all religions and we take concerns of this nature seriously. The AIR MAX logo was designed to be a stylized 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 was also accused of a similar action in the 1990’s, where they had apparently printed what looked like Allah’s name in Arabic on the back of a line of shoes. They had then apologized for it, and clarified that they never intended to offend anyone by it.
Do some brands just never learn? Or is this a mistake? Do let us know about your views on this in the comments section below!