The Islamic State group has banned Nike clothing, sneakers and other products because the pronunciation of the American sportswear company’s name is similar to Arabic words that have sexual undertones and are deemed sinful under Shariah law, Syrian activist group Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently said Thursday. ISIS warned anyone living within its self-declared caliphate who is caught selling, buying or wearing Nike products will be punished by whipping, imprisonment or paying a fine.

The Islamic State group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, distributed pamphlets titled “Beware guys, from serious foreign words,” showing images of Nike clothing along with English words and phrases such as “flirt,” “cupid,” “whore” and “kiss me” with their meanings in Arabic. However, ISIS fighters have been previously seen wearing Nike sneakers and other Western brands. Nike is a popular American sportswear company, but it’s named after the winged goddess of victory in ancient Greek mythology.


Last year, observers claimed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Sunni militant group, was wearing a Rolex or another luxury Western watch worth thousands, instead of an “Islamic watch,” which is worn by “true Muslims,” CNN reported at the time. Another leading ISIS member, Shaker Waheeb, also known as Abu Waheeb, has appeared wearing Adidas and Nike sneakers, Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently said Thursday.

It’s the latest sanction issued by the Islamist extremist group. Earlier this month, ISIS banned men from wearing skinny jeans in Raqqa, its de facto capital and stronghold in Syria. ISIS officials said wearing tight jeans provokes sexual desire by showing off a man’s body. The group also barred selling and buying jeans, and destroyed piles of them in Raqqa, where many young men were jailed for the alleged offense, the anti-ISIS activist group in Syria said.

ISIS had previously prohibited other acts deemed haram, or sinful, including smoking cigarettes, tardiness for prayer and having music on a cell phone. Although these are all allowed under Islam, the Islamic State group’s strict interpretation of Shariah law declares them forbidden in ISIS-controlled areas.