by Eileen F. Toplansky
In 1997 a huge Muslim outcry ensued that forced Nike to "recall 800,000 shoes because the Muslims claimed the company's 'Air' logo resembled the Arabic script for Allah." Mind you, the decoration was not the name for Allah. As a result of this bogus allegation, Nike would build "three playgrounds for Islamic communities in the United States" as part of the repentance package.
Instead of decrying this false claim of religious insensitivity, the New York Times reported that Nike:
committed a legendary error when it released a pair of athletic shoes in 1996 with a logo on the sole that some Muslims believed resembled the Arabic lettering for Allah. According to John Goodman, a Muslim convert and Ogilvy & Mather's regional director for South and Southeast Asia, '[g]iven that Muslims consider the feet unclean, producing shoes with the name of God on the soles of the feet is not a good idea...they recalled 800,000 pairs of shoes globally.'
Describing the Nike episode as a 'wake-up call' for companies, Goodman said it had also been a turning point for Muslim advocates, who realized that 'if they make a noise, companies would listen and change, that they had economic and social influence.'
Well, these Muslim advocates certainly have exercised their influence at these alleged offenses. In fact, CAIR's executive director, Nihad Awad, arrogantly responded that, had a settlement not been reached, his organization would have called for a global boycott of Nike products. CAIR's spokesman, 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."
In 1998 "Unilever scrapped a new logo it had begun to use on Walls ice creams in the Middle East -- again after Muslims said the intertwining red and yellow hearts looked like 'Allah' in Arabic when viewed upside down and backwards."
Four years before the Unilever episode, in 1994, Karl Lagerfeld designed a dress incorporating a pattern he had copied from Arabic lettering on India's Taj Mahal monument. This resulted in death threats to the German model Claudia Schiffer for wearing the dress.
As a result, Lagerfeld burned the garments and destroyed photographs and negatives of the dress!
But I digress.
In 2004 in Denmark, sandals that bore a design that looked like the word "Allah" in Arabic resulted in a Muslim organization suing a Danish supermarket. Fortunately, the supermarket spokesperson refused to remove the sandals from the shelves stating that seven Arabic-speaking employees stated that the design did not refer to Allah's name.
In 2005 Burger King in the UK withdrew its ice cream cones after the lid of the dessert offended a Muslim who claimed the design was sacrilegious. As a result the man threatened jihad via a boycott of Burger King. Consequently, the chain had to spend thousands of pounds to redesign the lid and had to comply with the Muslim Council of Britain which stated that they "commended the sensitive and prompt action that Burger King [had] taken."
The latest assault occurred on May 27, 2012 and is targeted against a McDonald's Toy. According to the Saudis, the toy "abused the Prophet Muhammad by placing his name at the base of a toy that is being distributed as part of the Happy Meal, a toy which steps on the name 'Muhammad.'" In response, the Saudi McDonald's has withdrawn the toy from all its restaurants, "in order to safeguard against any accusations or misunderstandings."
Indeed, this should be a turning point! It should make Western commercial interests hunker down and refuse to give into the blackmail, expensive redesign implementation, self-censoring loss of creativity, and death threats - all byproducts of these phony pseudo-angry outbursts by far too many Muslims. These preposterous fabrications demand that our righteous indignation call for the end of Islamic triumphalism. It is time for our voices to be heard. We need to recall that "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." (Benjamin Franklin, Speech to the Pennsylvania Assembly, November 11, 1755)
At what point will the West politely say, 'No, we will not be intimidated by your rage. We will not be coerced. We will not be frightened into dhimmitude by people who cannot tell the difference between a design and the name of their prophet? When will the West see through yet another excuse to make us bow to these Islamic extremists who will "be outraged by anything short of our adopting Sharia law?"
Eileen F. Toplansky can be reached at email@example.com
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.