A Muslim man, while browsing the online NikeiD store, found out on Thursday that the retail athletics giant does not allow the words ‘Islam’ and ‘Muslims’ to be inscribed on customised footwear.
“Dear Nike,” Nabeel Kaukab wrote on his Facebook account, “I have a sincere question for your Nike ID team. Today, I was trying to buy a pair of Air Jordans and was checking out the customisation features, one of which includes the ability to put short text (up to six letters) on them. As I was experimenting with different words to customise my shoes, I noticed that for Nike, neither ‘Islam’ nor ‘Muslim’ ‘fit within our guidelines.'”
Nike’s guidelines specifically 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.”
The 40-year-old New Yorker urged Nike to explain whether it thought the mention of the words Islam or Muslim incites violence or if it just doesn’t want to be associated with Muslims.
“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 [intellectual property] 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?” he added.
Kaukab also pointed out that Nike allowed ethnic slurs as well as names of groups which were actually associated with violence, such as, kaffir, hebe, macaca, nips, hadji (or hajji), polack, Ku Klux Klan, Daesh, Al Qaeda, Osama, PLO, IRA, Blood, Pol Pot, Dahmer, and even Donald Trump.
However, on Friday, Kaukab again took to Facebook and said that Nike’s spokesperson Kate M had reached out to him to inform that Nike is taking words ‘Muslim’ and ‘Islam’ off the banned words list for user customisation.
The Nike spokesperson further explained that after the 1997 protest, Nike became more focused on issues relating to cultural sensitivity and about five to six years ago made the proactive decision to prevent certain Islamic terms from appearing on its shoes (for example Allah, Koran, Muslim, Islam, etc) via NikeiD.
Other words not allowed on NikeiD include “Allah,” “Koran,” “Jihad” and “ISIS” (though “Daesh,” a more insulting term for the terrorist group, is permitted, as is “Quran,” an alternate spelling of “Koran”).
This article originally appeared on Huffington Post.