Sporting goods giant Nike is not often brought to amend its product decisions. But a campaign by American Muslims activists acting out of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) have gotten Nike to remove a shoe they deemed offensive to Muslims.
The shoe in question, which has been sold under the names Air Bakin’, Air Melt, Air Grill and Air B-Que, contains a fire logo (emblem) that resembles the Arabic script for God (Allah). Resembles not is, I know Arabic and have studied the shoe and it does not say it but its close enough. Although CAIR recognizes that the shoe does not actually say Allah, close enough was enough for them to mount a protest.
CAIR executive director Nihad Awad stated why the shoes offend Muslim sensibility “Many . . . may not understand how offensive it is to have the name of God on a shoe,” said Nihad Awad, the Islamic council’s executive director. “The shoe gets dirty. It gets muddy. It gets sweaty. We believe this is disrespectful to the name of God.”
After a three-month quibble, so to speak, Nike finally gave in and has recalled the shoe. As part if its apology Nike will be donating a $50,000 playground to an elementary school somewhere in the United States. In return CAIR has responded that it will not end the boycott for Nike.
In addition to the 38,000 recalled pairs, over 30,00 pairs originally heeded to Muslim nation will now be diverted to, in the works of a Nike spokesman, “less-sensitive” markets.
The shoe will eventually be redesigned without the original logo and then reintroduced.