A display of Pampers diapers
A display of Pampers diapersREUTERS/Rick Wilking

A group of Muslims in India has called for a ban on Pamper nappies, saying the cat's whiskers printed on the packet bear a close resemblance to the Arabic or Urdu spelling of Prophet Mohammed.

The group has said the lines illustrating the nose, whiskers, mouth and left eye of the cartoon feline on the packaging resemble the word Mohammed in Arabic. Hence the image is an insult to the Prophet Mohammed and hurts the sentiments of the Muslim community.

According to Deccan Chronicle, the protesters — the Islamic group Darsgah Jihad-o-Shahadat based out of Indian city of Hyderabad — lodged a police complaint at the Dabeerpura police station against the nappies.

The complaint letter reads: "Even with (the) bare eye it is been identified that the name of Prophet (PBUH) can be seen printed on it in Urdu/Arabic."

It says Prophet Mohammed, was a "holy personality in Islam" and the "disrespect cannot be tolerated".

The activists have therefore requested the police to immediately look into the matter and "stop the sale and distribution of baby dry pants of Pampers Company and take action against its manufacturers, arrest them and punish them."

Meanwhile, a video has emerged online showing the Islamic group burning the nappies in the streets of Hyderabad in protest.

In response to the Hyderabad protest, Procter & Gamble senior communications manager Scott Popham said: "I am aware of false and misleading information about Pampers being spread via social media channels such as Facebook and YouTube. The design on the Pampers Baby Dry Pants shows an innocent animated representation of a cat. It shows a cat's mouth and whiskers like it are commonly portrayed in drawings and cartoons across the world, especially by little children.

"The intent behind the use of this cartoon is completely innocent and we would never intend to offend any person, religion or cultural belief."

Shahnoor Khan, one of the activists, told Deccan Chronicle: "We consider the word Mohammed very sacred and the company had deliberately printed on each pamper and intended to hurt the Muslim community."

"We Muslims have faith and strong belief that Prophet Mohamed is holy personality in Islam and such disrespect cannot be tolerated by whom Muslim community."

While the activists behind the protests defended their actions, the incident has sparked outrage on various social media platforms as many insisted that the illustration was just an innocent drawing but nothing else.

One user wrote: "The latest insanity from the 'Religion of Peace.' "

There were also voices of support. One user said: "what do you want to prove by insulting & hurting religious sentiments of Muslims. Every Muslim should boycott this product."

In 1997, a similar controversy surrounded Nike after Muslim groups protested a new line of shoes with a flame-like logo, saying it resembled the Arabic word for "Allah". The company later withdrew the shoe from the market and apologized.