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Vern’s Takes Shoes Off Shelves Over “Allah” Logo Concern

Vern’s Takes Shoes Off Shelves Over “Allah” Logo Concern

A man claimed the outsoles of high-heeled shoe he bought in a Vern’s outlet in Kuantan bore the Arabic script for the word “Allah.”

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A man recently claimed on Facebook that a high-heeled shoe from Vern’s insulted Islam as it allegedly bore the Arabic script for the word “Allah.”

The man claimed he bought the high-heel shoe at an outlet in Kuantan and failed to notice the logo before purchase.

According to Free Malaysia Today, he also lodged a police report in Kuantan yesterday (7 April). The man’s Facebook video has since been removed to comply with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).

The case will be investigated under the Penal Code for intentionally wounding the religious feelings of others, and the Communications Act for misuse of network facilities to cause offence.

The police said they received 8 complaints lodged in Pahang, Johor, Terengganu, Kedah, and Penang.

Image: Vern’s Holding Sdn Bhd

Vern’s apologises and offers refunds

Vern’s Holding Sdn Bhd apologised for the shoe logo design which could be misinterpreted and said the company has no intention of belittling or insulting any religion or belief.

The logo is allegedly supposed to resemble the image of a high heel shoe. It was inspired by the image of interconnected lines resembling a high-heeled shoe.

However, the company also noted that the incident is a valuable lesson to be more careful when making design decisions and hoped for compassion so they could rectify the mistake.

They have taken immediate steps to cease the sale of the shoes and offered refunds to customers who purchased the footwear.

Meanwhile, some netizens believe Vern’s did nothing wrong and should stand their ground. They called for Vern’s to sue the man who instigated the issue.

Authorities are investigating

Nevertheless, the authorities are carrying out an investigation. The authorities in Johor have seized the shoes in a Johor Bahru outlet.

Johor executive councillor for Islamic religious affairs, Fared Khalid, said the seizure occurred following checks by the police, state religious officials and enforcement officers of the domestic trade and cost of living ministry.

Fared said the shoes were seized for further investigation and urged Muslims to remain calm. He also reminded Muslims to allow the authorities to investigate the matter.

The shoe controversy makes the religion look petty

Meanwhile, former deputy minister for national unity Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal said the controversy over the shoe logo has made Islam “look very petty and bad.”

He said Muslims should not be so paranoid to think everything is a challenge to Islam, adding that their “actions need to be based on knowledge and not blind emotion.”

Wan Fayhsal added that the mass media should stop reporting “such nonsense” for hits. He also said, “Islam is not the religion for stupid people.”

The case of Vern’s shoes follows the KK Mart “Allah” socks controversy. KK Mart made a formal apology but its founder and director Chai Kee Kan has since been charged with intentionally wounding the religious feelings of Muslims.

Chai had also directly apologised to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Ibrahim for the sale of the socks after being summoned to Istana Negara recently.

3R issues expected to rise near polls

In separate news, Deputy Communications Minister Teo Nie Ching claims there are “hidden hands” who intend to exploit issues related to race, religion, and royalty in the lead-up to any election.

The Kulai MP said such issues are expected to escalate ahead of the Kuala Kubu Baharu by-election on 11 May. Three-term assemblyman for the constituency, DAP’s Lee Kee Hiong, used to hold this seat but it went vacant amid his passing.

We do not deny that there are hidden hands playing up these issues on social media. However, we believe the police will investigate and take appropriate action to ensure that these matters are kept under control. I hope the public is aware (of such tactics) and are not influenced by the 3R issues played up by certain parties.

Deputy communications minister Teo Nie Ching

Teo also said the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) had removed 1,454 online content related to 3R issues in the first quarter of 2024.

The tally follows 727 online content related to religious issues, 588 online content related to racially charged speeches, and 139 hate speeches involving the royal institution.

Last month, a report titled “Malaysia Racism Report 2023” by human rights group Pusat Komas recorded a total of 50 incidents of racism and racial discrimination, of which 15 (31.4%) involved politics.

The report claimed politicians often manipulated racial and religious tension for power and instil fear within their communities.

Komas programme director Ryan Chua said the 50 reported incidents last year were lower than in previous years. He said the incidents peaked during the general election season, with 82 cases in November 2022 and 76 cases in May 2018.

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