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Just Cavalli’s Fragrance Ads Offend Sufi Muslims, Spark International Protests

Image: Just Cavalli

Image: Just Cavalli

Just Cavalli's latest fragrance ads are causing a stir in the Sufi Muslim community, which says that the brand has "desecrated" and "cheapen[ed]" their holy symbol for Allah. Protestors took to the streets on Saturday in Chicago to protest the offensive images.

The ads picture a topless Georgia May Jagger straddling a shirtless male model, with an H-symbol tattooed on her neck. It is this logo that Sufis have taken offense to being used in a commercial (and sexual) capacity, launching a petition in the U.K. currently over 3,000 signatures strong, as well as protests in Germany, California, Texas and London. It's difficult not to see the similarities between the two characters–Cavalli's is turned on its side and slightly less ornamental than the "Allah" symbol, which usually appears vertical. However, protestors say that the meaning does not change, no matter how it is positioned. “It still spells out ‘God.’ When he’s using it tattooed on naked models… he’s literally saying this is a sign of sin and it represents lust," demonstrator Nasim Bahadorani told The Independent.

Cavalli's people said they did not use the sacred symbol as a point of reference. The M.T.O. Shahmaghsoudi School of Sufism brought an infringement case against the Italian label to the European Union trademark commission, saying the logo violates their trademark on the Sufi character in question. The courts, however, were not convinced and ruled in Cavalli's favor.

But as far as the Sufis are concerned, justice has not been served. Demonstrator Saleh Ziabari sums it all up: "He’s basically stealing an identity, a religious identity, and doing this."

[via Chicago Tribune]