No ‘swooshing’: ISIS reportedly bans Nike because it sounds like ‘sex’ in Arabic
The Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) headquarters in Raqqa issued what claims to be a leaflet warning jihadists against using any Nike products. The punishments for both seller and buyer of Nike goods range from a small fine to imprisonment or whipping.
— Abu Ibrahim Raqqawi (@raqqa_mcr) April 22, 2015
This fashion twist comes out while one of IS’ probably best-known commanders Abu Waheeb is known for having a vast wardrobe of Western sportswear, Nike items included, as well as Adidas etc. Yet what might be permissible for a field commander to wear would remain taboo for an ordinary citizen under the jihadists’ rule, according to Daily Mail.
Jeans have also been strictly banned in the IS as the clothing “provokes sexual desire, and shows the attractions of a man's body,” with a prison term promised for those violating the order.
The ‘Nike controversy’ began with one militant comparing the company’s logo and name with the wearing of a Christian cross.
— Complex (@ComplexMag) April 23, 2015
The argument from other jihadists was that Nike’s apparel is “comfy and good quality, unlike crosses,” the Daily Mail reported.
Activist group ‘Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently’, which translated the leaflet into English, made a guess that Nike was banned because the company was named after the Greek winged goddess of victory, Nike, and also because it sounds similar to ‘sex’ in Arabic.
— brandmaster dheez (@dheezus) April 23, 2015
The leaflet also bans the wearing of clothes bearing inscriptions of swearing or any kind of sexually-suggestive phrases.
To help those who can’t read in English, the leaflet contains a long and detailed list of banned inscriptions in English and their Arabic translations.