An international Hindu organization is urging that Nanaimo-based company Om Boys pull a jacket it deems offensive.
In a press release, Rajan Zed, Universal Society of Hinduism president, said a red plaid jacket, with the likeness of deity Ganesh holding a wrench and engine parts, is “highly inappropriate.” Zed said Lord Ganesh is revered in Hinduism and is meant to be worshipped at temples and shrines.
“Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts for commercial or other agenda [is] not OK as it hurt the devotees,” Zed said in the news release.
Zed also asked Om Boys and its CEO issue an apology.
Jesse Jeans, Om Boys spokesman, said it isn’t the company’s intention to offend anyone.
“That’s not what the brand’s about at all,” said Jeans. “It’s in my write-up on the ‘about’ section [of www.omboys.ca]. They’ll see that it’s totally not to offend anybody.”
According to Om Boys’ website, its mission is to raise awareness about Crohn’s, colitis and irritable bowel syndrome. The intention of Om Boys is to support a movement called Project Om, with proceeds going back to the community through random acts of kindness.
“The designs are not created to make fun of, or offend anyone. They are artistic creations of my world. Motorcycles, surf, skate, yoga, meditation, spirituality and the love for Vancouver Island. Everything we do is printed locally and designed by local artists,” Jeans said in a subsequent e-mail. “Our customer base so far has come from all walks of life. Our next design might even have ‘all’ the different religions riding motorbikes together, having fun, getting along and call it, ‘One Love.’”
Zed was contacted and indicated he would be providing further comment.
The Nanaimo Hindu Cultural Society was contacted, but didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.