Malaysian shoemaker apologizes for high heels with logo some say resembles Arabic writing for God

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — A Malaysian shoe company has apologized and stopped selling some of its footwear after some Muslims said the logo resembled the Arabic script for the word God.

Vern’s Holdings said the logo stamped on the soles of some high-heeled shoes depicted the silhouette of a stiletto heel with a spiral wrap around the ankle. However, he acknowledged that design deficiencies may have led to a misinterpretation of the logo. He said he acted immediately to stop sales of the shoes and issue refunds to customers who purchased them.

“We have absolutely no intention of designing a logo intended to disparage or insult any religion or belief,” Vern’s said in the statement posted on social media. “The management would like to humbly apologize and ask for forgiveness. We hope for compassion to be able to rectify this mistake.”

The controversy followed last month’s furore over socks printed with the word “Allah” on the shelves of a large Malaysian convenience store chain. The owners of KK Mart and representatives of one of its suppliers were charged on March 26. with offending religious feelings of Muslims, and some shops were attacked with small Molotov cocktails. No injuries were reported.

Religion is a Sensitive issue in Malaysia, where Muslims make up two-thirds of a population of 34 million, with large Chinese and Indian ethnic minorities. “Allah,” the Arabic word for God, is sacrosanct to Malaysian Muslims and many found it offensive to associate the word with feet.

The matter came to light after critical social media posts highlighted the logo’s resemblance. Religious authorities and police have said they were investigating the matter after receiving complaints from the public.

Meanwhile, tensions over the previous case persist. KK Mart Group, the country’s second-largest convenience store chain, said the supplier shipped items the company had not agreed to stock. The founder of the supply company said the socks were imported from China as part of a large shipment and apologized for being careless in inspecting it.

The leader of the youth wing of a Malay nationalist party in Malaysia’s government has pushed for a boycott of the network and is being investigated for alleged sedition over a social media post that shows him wielding a sword. Critics say the party is seeking to win support among ethnic Malays after heavy losses in the last general election.

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