A popular Nike sneaker is facing backlash from Muslims who say its logo looks like the Arabic script for 'Allah'
A petition circulating on Change.org is demanding that Nike recall its popular Air Max 270 series of sneakers because of its logo. According to the petition, the Air Max logo looks very similar to the Arabic script for "Allah."
"It is outrageous and appalling of Nike to allow the name of God on a shoe," the petition reads. "This is disrespectful and extremely offensive to Muslims and insulting to Islam."
The logo in question is on the underside of the shoe and is not visible during normal use. It is stylized and appears to resemble Arabic only when read upside down.
"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," the petition reads.
At the time of writing, the petition had more than 20,000 signatures. The stated goal is 25,000.
In response to the petition, Nike told Business Insider that the company "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," the statement added.
The company did not indicate it would recall the sneakers. The Air Max 270 is a popular product for Nike, and it has been listed as one of three models driving sales growth in the company over the last year, CEO Mark Parker said in June 2018.
Nike ran into a similar problem years ago, when it came under scrutiny from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in 1997, according to a report from The Associated Press at the time. A stylized flame on the rear of the shoe was also seen as resembling the script for "Allah." Nike recalled 38,000 pairs of the shoes.
This time, CAIR has not yet gotten involved.
"It's obvious that some people perceive it as a slight. Whether is actually is or not, that still doesn't get rid of the perception of some people," Ibrahim Hooper, director of communications at CAIR, told CBS. "The way we look at it, there is intentional offense, there is unintentional offense, and there is debatable offense, and I am not sure which category this falls into. Certainly not intentional, I would think."