Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 24 October 2020

Israfil and Asriel: Kanye West criticised for naming Yeezy sneakers after Islamic angels

Shoppers have started a social media campaign, urging the rapper and designer to consider changing the models' names

Two pairs of Kanye West's Yeezy sneakers have been named after Islamic archangels. AP
Two pairs of Kanye West's Yeezy sneakers have been named after Islamic archangels. AP

Kanye West has been accused of "making a mockery" of Islam, after the rapper named a pair of his Yeezy sneakers after two Islamic angels.

The Flashing Lights star, who established his footwear line in 2009, unveiled his latest line of trainers with Adidas last week.

Two models – the Yeezy Boost 350 V2 Israfil and Yeezy Boost 350 V2 Asriel – drew the ire of fans, who claimed the rapper was culturally appropriating Islam and that it was particularly disrespectful to name a shoe after angels (here is a guide to some sensitivites around feet and shoes).

The names are two of the four Islamic archangels. Israfil is the angel who blows into the trumpet to signal Qiyamah, while Asriel – more commonly spelt Azrael – is the angel of death, who transports the souls of the deceased.

Following the unveiling of the designs, fans took to social media to urge West to change the sneakers' names.

An Instagram post of the Israfil trainer has been inundated with multiple comments pleading "change this name", while some Twitters users said the entrepreneur and the sports label were "disrespecting Islam".

"Kanye West and Adidas making mockery of Islam," one Twitter user wrote, while another posted: "Naming a shoe after a significant Angel of God, in the Islamic religion, is highly disrespectful."

"That's cultural appropriation and it is wrong and upsetting to our Muslim community. Change the shoe name," another Twitter user commented.

"Having the names of angels, which we revere highly, on a shoe which is used to walk on the street is a huge form of disrespect in all Muslims communities," an online petition states.

The Israfil model has already sold out online, with the Asriel trainer set to be released next month.

West and Adidas have not yet responded to the controversy.

The news comes after West, 43, failed to appear on ballots in Wisconsin, Montana, Illinois and Ohio as part of his ongoing presidential campaign.

The rapper, who announced his bid for the White House on July 4, has already missed the deadline to qualify for the Tuesday, November 3, ballot in several states, including big hitters such as New York and Texas.

Updated: August 24, 2020 06:56 PM

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