Nike had introduced its "Air" line of basketball shoes in 1996 with a stylized, flame-like logo of the word Air on the shoe's backside and sole. When the elders at CAIR nonsensically declared that this logo could "be interpreted" as the Arabic-script spelling of Allah, Nike initially protested its innocence. But by June 1997, it had accepted multiple measures to ingratiate itself with the council. It:
- "apologized to the Islamic community for any unintentional offense to their sensibilities";
- "implemented a global recall" of certain samples;
- "diverted shipments of the commercial products in question from ‘sensitive' markets";
- "discontinued all models with the offending logo";
- "implemented organizational changes to their design department to tighten scrutiny of logo design";
- promised to work with CAIR "to identify Muslim design resources for future reference";
- took "measures to raise their internal understanding of Islamic issues";
- donated $50,000 for a playground at an Islamic school;
- recalled about 38,000 shoes and had the offending logo sanded off.
The offending Nike shoe logo, where "Air" supposedly looks like "Allah" in Arabic script.
The sole of a Nike "Air" shoe.
Giving up all pretense of dignity, the company reported that "CAIR is satisfied that no deliberate offense to the Islamic community was intended" by the logo.
The executive director of CAIR, Nihad Awad, arrogantly responded that, had a settlement not been reached, his organization would have called for a global boycott of Nike products. A spokesman for the group, Ibrahim Hooper, crowed about the settlement: "We see it as a victory. It shows that the Muslim community is growing and becoming stronger in the United States. It shows that our voices are being heard."
Emboldened by this success, Mr. Awad traveled to the headquarters of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, a Wahhabi organization in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, one year later to announce that Nike had not lived up to its commitment. He flayed the firm for not recalling the full run of more than 800,000 pairs of shoes and for covering the Air logo with only a thin patch and red paint, rather than removing it completely. "The patch can easily be worn out with regular use of the shoe," he complained. Turning up the pressure, Mr. Awad proclaimed a campaign "against Nike products worldwide."
Nike again capitulated, announcing an agreement in November 1998 on "the method used to remove the design and the continued appearance of shoes in stores worldwide." It coughed up more funding for sports facilities at five Islamic schools and for sponsorship of Muslim community events, and donated Nike products to Islamic charitable groups. The trade press also suggested a financial contribution to CAIR.
Please do not buy any Nike products.....boycott!!