The video is not understated. Source: YouTube
A popular Malaysian hip-hop and movie director has been arrested over a pop video which allegedly disrespects Islam, reported Bernama, the national news agency.
Namewee, 33, the stage name of Wee Meng Chee, was detained at Kuala Lumpur International Airport when he arrived back from an international trip.
The use of “Allah” and samples of the Islamic call to prayer were used in the Mandarin music video, “Oh My God”, which is available in an edited form on YouTube. The video included Namewee and other performers dressed to represent various cultures and religions, rapping inside a mosque and church and Hindu, Buddhist and Taoist temples.
It originally featured Penang’s floating mosque in Tanjung Bungah as a backdrop.
Music is normally forbidden in mosques and, in India, countless riots have been started by Hindu musicians deliberately playing loud music outside mosques.
Around 20 religious groups filed police reports last month claiming Namewee’s music video had insulted their religious sensibilities.
He posted a YouTube response explaining that he had no intention of insulting religion and that the track was written to “promote harmony”.
It does not appear to have been written to promote fine music or anyone’s concept of “cool”.
Shot in places of worship in Penang, it starts with the “azan” or Muslim call for prayer, a church choir and the ringing of Buddhist gongs as well as Hindu temple bells.
Namewee loosely uses phrases such as “Namo Amitabha,” “Hallelujah,” “Om Mani Padme Hum” and “Allah”.
There are men dressed as Jesus Christ, fifth-century Buddhist monk Xuan Zang, a Taoist priest and a gun-toting man wearing a white robe and headgear. It is no wonder someone was offended.
The Jesus character plays pool using a cross as his cue and Xuan Zang uses his staff.
Could he not be prosecuted for crimes to music, many will ask.
An edited version without the mosque scenes has now been uploaded to YouTube.
Namewee, who is also popular in Taiwan, has caused controversy in the past.
In 2007 a video featured him rapping to the Malaysian national anthem using allegedly seditious lyrics.
To the backdrop of the Malaysian flag, Namewee dedicated the song to “all Malaysians, especially the government”.
Malaysia has seen religious tension rise in recent years, with a steady increase of conservative Islamic attitudes.
Earlier in 2016, cinema posters and adverts for a Hong Kong movie were edited to erase a half-man, half-pig character. Pork and its by-products are outlawed under the religious law.