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Nike and Islamic group end logo logjam

playground ceremony
Opposing views celebrate common ground  
November 21, 1998
Web posted at: 11:22 p.m. EST (0422 GMT)

FALLS CHURCH, Virginia (CNN) -- Athletic footwear company Nike and an Islamic organization broke ground on a playground on Saturday and announced that a controversy over a shoe logo is over.

Nike and the Council on American-Islamic Relations completed an agreement last week, officially resolving a problem that began in April 1997 when CAIR objected to a shoe with a design on the heel similar to the Arabic word for "God" or "Allah."

As part of the final agreement, Nike is building three playgrounds for Islamic communities in the United States, said Roy Agostino, communications manager for Nike. CAIR will decide where the playgrounds will be, Agostino said.

The first playground will be at Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center, Falls Church, Virginia, where representatives from Nike and CAIR held a groundbreaking ceremony Saturday. Children from the center's school drew pictures of what they would like in their new playground. Nike distributed balloons and T-shirts.

bulldozer
The first step toward building a new playground  

In June last year, Nike apologized to Muslims for any unintentional offense, agreed to recall all products carrying the design, introduced training for Nike designers in Islamic imagery and agreed to investigate how the design came about.

After the recall, other issues remained, such as the shoes' appearance in some markets outside the United States.

"I think this agreement we signed with Nike a few days ago puts this whole issue to an end. And we hope that Nike will be now aware of the sensitive market that they have and the global issue that pertains with the shoes," said Nihad Awad, executive director of CAIR.

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