Nike in Hot Water Over ‘Allah’ Shoes

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Nike shoes (Photo: Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)
Nike shoes (Photo: Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)

A petition aimed at sport retailer Nike over their “Allah” shoes garnered over 28,000 signatures in three days. “Allah” is Arabic for God.

The petition demands Nike recall the “offensive” shoe with Allah’s name from the worldwide market and reads: 

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.

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.

After recalling trainers in 1997, which had a similar logo depicting the word Allah, Nike claimed to have tighten scrutiny on logo design. So why has a similar design been approved?

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.

I urge all Muslims and everyone who respects the freedom of religion or belief to sign this petition.

Thank you for your support  and kindly share.

For those Muslims who believe they see the Arabic script for Allah on the Nike Air Max 270, discovering it on the bottom of a shoe would be interpreted as a grave form of disrespect. (In some parts of the world, just showing the sole of the show is an insult.)

Yet, it is absurd to believe the markings at the bottom of the shoe are any representation of the Arabic script for God. You would have to really squint and cross your eyes while hanging upside down to see some apparition of “Allah” in Arabic script on the bottom of that shoe.

It’s also difficult to believe that Nike, a retailer known for inclusion of the Muslim market and pro-feminist diversity campaigns, would be obtuse enough to not be aware of religious and cultural sensitivities. 

The other issue here is blasphemy, and the increasing frequency of a heavy handful of intolerant Muslims becoming more and more vocal about their discontent. Over time, despite increased inclusion and political correctness, Muslims are becoming more and more thin-skinned and reactive.

The only right move forward here is for Nike to stand its ground and not buckle under pressure.



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Shireen Qudosi

Shireen Qudosi is Clarion Project's National Correspondent.