Nike is without a doubt the biggest and most powerful athletic brand in the world. As of April 2018, the brand boasts $21.1 billion in annual sales and flaunts a roster of some of the most influential footwear and endorsers there are. However, with great power comes great responsibility and, as it stands, the Muslim community is accusing Nike of being negligent with one of its most sought-after designs.
The kicks in question are the Nike Air Max 270 trainers which were released last year, according to Sputnik News. The controversy arises from the way that the inscribed words “Air Max” are stylized on the sneaker. Many say that the way the words are shown appears to resemble the Arabic word for “Allah,” the Muslim word for “God,” which those who practice Islam deem offensive and blasphemous.
Earlier this month, an individual named Saiqua Noreen posted an online petition blasting Nike for the alleged oversight. “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,” Noreen wrote on the Change.org petition. “It is outrageous and appalling of Nike to allow the name of God on a shoe. This is disrespectful and extremely offensive to Muslim’s and insulting to Islam. Islam teaches compassion, kindness and fairness towards all.” The petition has garnered 13,749 signatures, which is 1,251 signatures short of the desired 15,000.
This is not the first time Nike has been through the wringer for this kind of thing. Back in 1997, the company had to recall tens of thousands of pairs of the classic Air Bakin sneakers because of a fiery design of the word “Air” that appeared on heel also resembled the Arabic word for “Allah.” In addition to recalling the sneakers, Nike also donated $50,000 to an Islamic elementary school in the US for a new playground.
“Nike respects all religions and we take concerns of this nature seriously,” the company said in a released statement. “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.”
To sign the petition calling for the recall of the Nike Air Max 270, click here.