Complaints prompt Amazon to remove products that are offensive to Muslims

Independent merchants on Amazon were selling doormats imprinted with Islamic scripture.

(CNN)Amazon has pulled more than a dozen products off its website after receiving complaints that the items are offensive to Muslims.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, asked the online retailer last week to remove the products, which included doormats, bath mats and other items imprinted with Islamic calligraphy, references to the Prophet Muhammad and scripture.
The products, which were being sold by independent merchants on Amazon's website, are deemed offensive because they "would be stepped-on or otherwise disrespected by customers," CAIR said in a statement on Thursday.
    The following day, CAIR issued another statement welcoming Amazon's decision to remove the items from its website and conduct an audit to purge similarly offensive products.
    "We thank Amazon for its swift action on this issue and hope it sends a message to manufacturers of such inappropriate and offensive items that they will not profit from Islamophobia or any other form of bigotry," Masih Fouladi, executive director of CAIR's Washington state chapter, said in the statement. Amazon is based in Seattle, Washington. 
    An Amazon spokesperson confirmed that the products are being removed.
    "All sellers must follow our selling guidelines and those who do not will be subject to action including potential removal of their account," the spokesperson told CNN on Monday. "The products in question are being removed from our store."

    'Inappropriate stuff'

    Since the announcement, CAIR has received additional complaints of offensive items -- including toilet covers imprinted with the Quran and Islamic scripture -- listed for sale on Amazon, said CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper.
    "I don't think it would be appropriate to have a toilet seat with the image of a Bible on it either," Hooper told CNN. "It's just inappropriate stuff."
    Hooper said it's likely that not all the products were manufactured with the intent to offend.
    "My gut feeling is that at least for the bath mats, shower curtains, and stuff like that, it's these companies just slapping these designs on everything without even thinking about it," he said.
    "But there are others crossing the line into intentional Islamophobia. Some of the companies have things like toilet seats. I mean come on, why else would you do that?"
      This is not the first time CAIR has asked a company to remove an offensive product. In 1997, the organization complained to Nike that one of its shoes featured a design that bore a striking resemblance to the word Allah. Nike apologized for any unintentional offense and recalled the shoes.
      CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a statement Friday that the organization would continue working with retailers "to ensure that products are not exploiting or promoting bigotry for commercial gain."