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‘Allah’ on dress during Melbourne Fashion Festival triggers outrage, designer issues apology

The design was inappropriate, according to Tarik Junaid Asmat, another model who was present at the show on Saturday night.

Paypal Melbourne Fashion Festival (MFF) recently came under fire for the display of religious texts on the garments at the event, on Saturday, March 11. MFF was criticized over a dress by the label ‘Not a Man’s Dream’ with the Arabic phrase, ‘Allah walks with me’ emblazoned on it.

MFF and the designer Samantha Saint James who is also the founder of ‘Not a Man’s Dream’, issued an apology, on Sunday, for the incident. “The festival did not intend to disrespect anyone and we apologise for any offence caused,” it read.

MFF issued a formal statement in response to the controversy.

James conveyed, “I apologize for any offense or disrespect caused by certain pieces I showed in Saturday evening’s MFF runway. I have come to understand how some garments have caused offense. It was the opposite of my intentions and for that, I’m truly sorry.”

The apology has since been deleted, with only screenshots of the Instagram story being shared online. The label’s Instagram page has since been made private following the outcry.

At least two designs at the Melbourne event on the weekend featured the script in Arabic saying, ‘Allah walks with me,’ infuriating many. The festival has removed all designs from the label from its social channels while it investigated complaints about the designs.

In addition to publishing a post denouncing the occurrence, Eritrean-Australian Instagram model, Mona Khalifa, also put out a video, saying, “There is a fine line between art and disrespect and this falls way, way over disrespect.” She remarked, adding that there is no justification for anyone to add the name of Allah or other Islamic symbols to something like this. “It is transparent fabric,” she added.

“I could not contain my anger. I could not put this off any further. There is no reason for anyone to put the word ‘Allah’ or anything Islamic on something like this. My blood is boiling,” the model complained.

“To use religious texts or write Allah (God) in Arabic which is sacred to both Muslims and Arab Christians and also to have it styled in such a nude and immodest manner is wrong on so many levels. The pieces also had the models’ heads covered, which feels like a direct dig at hijab & Muslim women,” she stated in her post.

The design was inappropriate, according to Tarik Junaid Asmat, another model who was present at the show on Saturday night. “It is no secret that I grew up lovingly Muslims, so I have zero shame in sharing this, designers do better,” he wrote on his Instagram story. “To my Muslim brothers and sisters who witnessed this, I have you in my prayers. I’m not going to say anything else about this,” he said further.

Bilal Rauf, a spokesman for the Australian National Imams Council, called the attire offensive and pointed out that people of all faiths use the phrase Allah. “The use of certain words and symbols which carry a religious significance ought to be used with respect,” he commented.

“Sadly, there is an increasing incidence of sacred symbols and words being flippantly used. Allah, which means God in Arabic, is used by Arab-speaking Christians and Muslims around the world. It is unfitting for such a word to be used with discourtesy and disrespect as seemed to occur at the Melbourne Fashion Festival,” he voiced his displeasure.

The controversy comes after Channel 10’s flagship program, The Project, faced backlash over a joke about Jesus made live on air by a guest. Queer comedian Reuben Kaye, who was a guest on the show, made an ‘offensive’ joke about Jesus Christ. Co-hosts Waleed Aly and Sarah Harris issued an on-air apology a day later following criticism by the community.

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Searched termsAllah fashion
OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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