Sufi Muslims are calling for a ban on a Robert Cavalli perfume advertisement that includes photos of model Georgia May Jagger with an H-like image on her wrist they say “cheapens” and “degrades” one of their holiest symbols.
The ornate figure is similar to a sign Sufis use to refer to Allah and, according to the Daily Mail, representatives of the community have said it is “heartbreaking” to see it used to make money.
The estimated 500,000 Sufis worldwide are reportedly demanding the symbol, which they have previously had trademarked, be removed from the ads.
Some have demonstrated outside the London department store Harrods and in Dusseldorf, Germany and Los Angeles and created the hashtag “TakeOffJustLogo” for social media campaigns.
“To use something that means so much to us for corporate profit cheapens our sacred symbol. It’s disrespectful, offensive and degrading,” one of the protest organisers, American student Nasim Bahadorani, told the Daily Mail.
“We have this sign that to us represents blessed peace. It’s a refuge. To see it disgraced like this for a company to make money is heart-breaking.”
Roberto Cavalli, which has used the image in campaigns since 2011, claims the symbols are not the same and in a campaign video Jagger refers to the symbol on her wrist as a snakebite and a “sign of seduction”.
The stance was supported by the European Union, which last month rejected a request by Sufi groups to ban the company from using the sign.
A spokesman for the fashion house said they were “deeply saddened by the distress expressed by” the Sufi community but that they hope the EU ruling will “convince the Sufist religion of the complete good faith and the groundlessness of their requests”, the Daily Mail said.
But in a video produced by Sufi activists, which has been watched more than 12,000 times on YouTube, they accuse Robert Cavalli of “tearing communities apart”.
Ten years ago the brand also was criticised for its line of bikinis that depicted Hindu gods.
The fashion house withdrew the swimwear from some stores, apologising but said any offence was unintentional.