Prayer mats
Chinese retailer gets backlash over selling prayer mats as rugs Image Credit: Twitter/@Nabela

Popular fast fashion Chinese retailer, Shein, issued an apology after receiving severe backlash online for selling Muslim prayer mats as decorative ‘fringe trim carpets’.

Twitter user and beauty blogger Nabela Noor, @nabela, was amongst those who criticised the international brand online.

Taking to her account, she tweeted: “This is unacceptable. @SHEIN_official is selling Islamic prayer mats and calling them ‘floral trim carpets’. I’ve reached out to the brand directly asking them to remove plus to have a dialogue on why this is wildly offensive. Will update with their response.”

In her post, she added pictures of the prayer mats that were sold on the website.

‘My religion is not a trend’

In another tweet Noor wrote: “My culture and religion is not a trend or something to rebrand and sell. @SHEIN_official, let’s talk.”

Twitter @cxffeinatxd user also reacted to the issue: “You have got to be joking. SHEIN really taking prayer mats and reselling it like this? Religious prayer mats? As rugs?”

Hundreds of such posts were shared on social media platforms, calling the move “insensitive”.

Screenshots tweeps shared of the prayer mats being listed on the website showed the price range to be between Dh39 to Dh67.

After the social media backlash, Shein, @sheinofficial, posted an apology on their official Instagram page in a picture message with the caption: “To our community. We’re sorry.”

The message posted on July 6 read: “To our community — we made a serious mistake recently by selling prayer mats as decorative rugs on our site. We understand this is a highly offensive oversight and are truly sorry. Since it was brought to our attention, we immediately removed the products from our site and asked our vendor to stop selling to others. We also formed a product review committee with staff from different cultures and religions so a mistake like this doesn't happen again. As a global brand, we vow to do a much better job in educating ourselves on different cultures, religions, and traditions to ensure our diverse community is respected and honoured. We offer our sincerest apology to all whom we have hurt and offended, and hope we can earn your forgiveness.”

Many users appreciated the retailer's apology.

Instagram user @sarashakeel commented on the post: "Thank you for this! Your prompt response has won many hearts."