A New York Muslim man demanded that Nike endorse Islam on their shoes, and while in most cases, companies end up caving to such demands, Nike definitely had an interesting response.
The incident stems around the company’s custom embroidered line of shoes, where customers can have anything they want stitched onto the back of them in order for them to be more personalized… well, almost anything. MailOnline reported the story of 40-year-old rabble-rouser Nabeel Kaukab’s plight to get the word “Muslim” emblazoned on a pair of shoes, and he’s really not too happy with how the entire situation turned out.
To give you some background on what Nike does and doesn’t allow, MailOnline outlined the following guidelines:
Nike’s guidelines exclude ‘profanity’, ‘inappropriate slang’, ‘insulting or discriminatory content’, ‘content construed to incite violence’, ‘material that Nike wishes not to place on products’ and anything that ‘violates another party’s trademark or intellectual property rights’ from being written on its shoes.
Now, some time ago, Nike was forced to apologize after a pair of shoes it produced had the word “Air” inscribed on the back, but it resembled the word “Allah” in Arabic, and Muslims threw a fit. On top of their apology, they had to recall some 38,000 pairs of shoes and also ended up paying for a playground at an Islamic elementary school in America.
With that in mind, it’s completely understandable that Nike would deny Kaukab’s request to put “Muslim” on a pair of shoes, wouldn’t you say? Unfortunately, Kaukab doesn’t agree… at all.
In a fiery open letter to the company, Kaukab wrote on Facebook:
“As far as I (or any rational person) can assume, neither word is profanity, slang (appropriate or inappropriate), insulting or discriminatory (more than a billion people globally find identity in being called Muslims).
Considering there is no trademark or IP around just the word Islam or Muslim, by process of elimination that leaves your customers to assume only the following:
Either you believe the word Islam or Muslim incites violence or they are words that Nike doesn’t want to place on its products?”
While Kaukab believes his treatment to be unfair, Nike also prohibits the words “Allah,” “Koran,” “Jihad,” and “ISIS,” so it’s not like they’re really being discriminatory here. Plus, as was mentioned earlier, you saw what happened to the company after something it printed merely resembled an Arabic word, so they’d be totally insane to even touch this one with a ten-foot pole.
Although, Kaukab still doesn’t agree.
“I think this is an issue of how many corporations (and frankly organizations in general) just don’t get Muslims, both in the United States and abroad,” he said.
Yeah, that’s it.
What do you think, should Nike fill his request or keep telling him to pound sand?