TOKYO (AP) _ A major Japanese tire maker is recalling automobile tires with a tread pattern that resembles the Arabic word for Allah after receiving protests from Islamic believers.

Akira Mikami, spokesman for the Tokyo-based Yokohama Rubber Co., said his company had stopped producing the tires, and in Islamic countries was recalling or replacing them with new ones free of charge.

The company also apologized for its lack of knowledge of Islam. Mikami said the treads were designed by computer to maximize driving safety and were not meant to blaspheme Allah.

The tires, design No. Y-814, are used mainly on Jeep-like vehicles.