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Nike urged to pull Air Max shoes over ‘blasphemous’ logo

Written by Laura Cannon- Solent University student on 04 February 2019

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The world renowned brand Nike is facing pressure to recall one of its shoe brands over anger that the design on the sole of the shoe allegedly resembles “Allah” in Arabic script.  There has since been a petition which has gathered over 33,000 online signatures as a result of the shoes release in 2018.

Nike argued that the design is a ‘stylised representation’ of its Air Max trademark and that “any other perceived meaning or representation is unintentional”, whilst the petitioners have argued the design is “offensive and blasphemous.” The petitioners went on further to say that “the name of God on the sole of the shoes, where it would be trampled, kicked and become soiled with mud or even filth, was disrespectful to Muslims.”

Nike has now gone onto to release a further statement to the World Intellectual Property Review expressing its respect to “all religions” and that they take such concerns very seriously.

A similar issue occurred in 1997, when Nike agreed not to sell shoes bearing a mark resembling “Allah” in the UK. The earlier petition challenged the company’s commitment to greater “scrutiny on logo design.” At the time Nike explained how it had discontinued production of those shoes and that by the end of the process they had “developed a deeper understanding of Islamic concerns and Islamic issues.”

There are no further updates at this stage on what Nike is planning to do to resolve the situation; however it is clear that they need to do something drastic as this is the second time they have had allegations of this type made in 20 years.  

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