Muslim protests in India are calling for a boycott of Pampers products after claiming to have seen the word ‘Mohammed’ in the face of a cartoon cat which appears on its nappies.
The lines illustrating the whiskers, nose, mouth and left eye of the smiley feline have been suggested to resemble the Prophet’s name when written in Arabic or Urdu, although the company that makes the products vehemently denied the claims.
Procter and Gamble in a statement that said they would never intend to offend any person or religion and the the design showed ‘an innocent animated representation of a cat.’
However, the image on the hygiene product has been branded an ‘insult’ to Islam by critics, and protesters have staged ‘Pampers burnings’.
Video footage viewed more than 175,000 times online shows outraged parents making pyres out of Pampers Baby Dry Pants in the streets of India and torching whole packets in protest.
Activists from the Islamic group Darsgah Jihad-o-Shahadat yesterday lodged a formal complaint about the nappies at Dabeerpura Police Station in Hyderabad, reports the Deccan Chronicle.
In a letter to police, the group said Pampers – owned by US multinational Procter & Gamble – had ‘hurt the feelings’ of the Muslim community and called for the products to be taken off the shelves immediately.
It stated: ‘Even with (the) bare eye it is been identified that the name of Prophet (PBUH) can be seen printed on it in Urdu/Arabic.’
The Prophet Mohammed, it added, was a ‘holy personality in Islam’ and the ‘disrespect cannot be tolerated’.
The letter went on to say: ‘Arrest them and punish them.’
Protest: Activists from the Islamic group Darsgah Jihad-o-Shahadat yesterday lodged a formal complaint about the nappies at Dabeerpura Police Station in Hyderabad
A spokesman for Pampers’ owner Procter & Gamble said: ‘We are aware of the false and misleading information about Pampers being spread via social media channels such as Facebook and YouTube.
‘The design on the Pampers Baby Dry Pants shows an innocent animated representation of a cat. It shows a cat’s mouth and whiskers like it is commonly portrayed in drawings and cartoons across the world, especially by little children.
‘The intent behind the use of this cartoon is completely innocent and we would never intend to offend any person, religion or cultural belief.’
Some social media users joined in the calls for a Pampers boycott, while others insisted the cartoon was just an innocent drawing of a cat which had been taken out of context.
Nasar Alam Khan wrote: ‘Please request every Muslim brother and sister to boycott this product. It’s the only way to prove our strength and the love for our Prophet.’
Imtiyaz Naikoo commented: ‘Please grow up. It’s a cat with two eyes and a moustache.’
Azam Shariff said: ‘Maybe it’s the fault of the creative team but whatever the case is, directly or indirectly, it’s manifesting the name of (our) holy Prophet.
‘That is a sheer desecration, it’s insulting. Don’t use the products until they change this, until they apologise.’
Amina Wani Choudhury added: ‘Anything that is in your mind you can see or imagine because it’s in your mind, not on diapers.’
On its website, Procter & Gamble states Pampers is its biggest global brand and has ‘served millions of babies since its launch in the Arabian Peninsula’.
Procter & Gamble has been approached for comment.