Earlier this month, Saiqa Noreen started a Change.org petition calling for the sportswear brand to remove its Air Max 270 trainers from stores.
Noreen cited the use of the brands Air Max logo on the sole of the shoe, claiming it resembles the Arabic word for “Allah”.
He also added that, given its placement, the script “will surely be trampled, kicked and become soiled with mud or even filth”.
“It is outrageous and appalling of Nike to allow the name of God on a shoe,” he wrote.
“We urge Nike to recall this blasphemous and offensive shoe and all products with the design logo resembling the word Allah from worldwide sales immediately. We also request stricter scrutiny of products before they enter the market.”
Noreen concluded the petition by calling on “Muslim’s and everyone who respects the freedom of religion” to sign his petition.
On 27 January, Footwear News reported the petition had received more than 5,400 signatures. Today (30 January) it has surpassed 12,000.
Despite the resemblance, Nike has issued a statement to say that the likeness to the word for Allah is accidental.
“Nike respects all religions and we take concerns of this nature seriously,” the company said.
“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.”
Many have taken to social media to call out the brand, with one person revealing he returned his new Nike trainers after seeing the logo.
“Why are Nike selling trainers which clearly have ‘Allah’ written in Arabic. Remove shoes from sales. Disgusting and appalling,” another person wrote.
However, not everyone agrees with the petition, with some calling for Nike not to recall the trainers.
“Is Nike going to cave in to this ridiculous demand?” one person wrote.
“We're supposed to believe that Nike intentionally went out of their way to write Allah on the sole of a line of shoes?”
This isn’t the first time Nike has been called blasphemous.
In 1997, the company was forced to recall 38,000 pairs of trainers worldwide after outrage sparked in Great Britain over a flame-like logo which some believed resembled the word Allah.
In addition to recalling the sneakers, Nike donated $50,000 (£38,000) to an Islamic elementary school in the US, to be used toward the creation of a playground.
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