China-Based Fashion Retailer Removes Swastika Necklace Days After Muslim Prayer Rug Incident

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Marlo Safi Culture Reporter
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China-based fast-fashion retailer Shein removed a swastika necklace after backlash only days after apologizing for selling Muslim prayer mats as decorative rugs, Buzzfeed reported. 

The necklace, called a “swastika pendant necklace” on its website, was up for sale at $2.50 until social media users and advocacy organizations like Stop Antisemitism rebuked the company, according to Buzzfeed.

“We demand that #shein IMMEDIATELY remove this item from their website as it represents the mass murder of millions,” Stop Antisemitism, a non-profit that works to hold antisemites accountable, posted with a screenshot on its Insatagram page. (RELATED: ‘Irresponsible And Unacceptable’: Lawmakers Demand Removal Of Nazi Swastika Gravestones)

Shortly after the post, Shein removed the necklace.

A Shein spokesperson told Buzzfeed that the pendant was not a Nazi swastika but a “Buddhist swastika which has symbolized spirituality and good fortune for more than a thousand years.”

The spokesperson explained that the Nazi swastika differs from the Buddhist swastika in design, but understood that “the two symbols can be confused, and one is highly offensive” and decided to remove the product.

“As a multicultural and global brand, we want to apologize profusely to those who are offended, we are sensitive to these issues and want to be very clear that we in no way support or condone racial, cultural and religious prejudice or hostility.”

The incident comes days after Shein apologized for selling carpets resembling Muslim prayer mats that had illustrations of the Ka’bah and mosques. The description of the product included “fringe trim carpet,” and “fringe trim Greek fret carpet.”

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UPDATE: @sheinofficial has now removed most of these items from their website, which is what we wanted; however there’s been no acknowledgement, statement or apology from them. . I am disgusted. I am livid. @sheinofficial is also PROFITING off muslim prayer mats (janemaz/sajadah) by selling them as ‘fringe trim carpets’ for people to use casually around the house. A few have the Kaaba printed on them. THIS IS HIGHLY OFFENSIVE, Not only is it disrespectful but they once again renamed and stole credit from a whole faith this time, by failing to label it as a muslim prayer mat; which allows people to use it casually as a decorative mat. *A prayer mat is an important piece of fabric, used by Muslims, placed between the ground and the worshipper during their five daily prayers. It is NOT a carpet and must be treated with respect and you don’t ever wear shoes on it. It’s important for us to acknowledge the disrespect that is committed here, and that action must be taken to remove this product from their line. Corporate organisations can be difficult to take down, but you can do your bit by: -BOYCOTTING THEM -RAISING SOCIAL MEDIA AWARENESS (can really make a difference) – SENDING EMAILS . They are a company based in china, which makes it more difficult to take certain actions, therefore tagging and raising awareness which will enable people to boycott them is the way forward until they take down the items, acknowledge and apologise. If anyone has any ideas of what more we can do, DM me. . Thanks to @toobzz__ for bringing my attention to this. . #shein #sheinofficial #muslim #prayermat #culturalappropriation #islam #china

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Many people shared their outrage online, according to Buzzfeed, prompting the apology from Shein for the “serious mistake.”

In response, the company removed the item and also said it formed a product review committee consisting of staff from different cultures in order to prevent a similar scenario.