Malaysian Rapper Namewee Arrested for ‘Insulting Islam’

Malaysian police have arrested one of the country’s most popular rappers after citizens complained that one of his most recent music videos “insulted Islam.”

Authorities detained Wee Meng Chee, known by his stage name Namewee, on Sunday at Kuala Lumpur airport as he returned home from overseas.

In his four-minute video for the song “Oh My God,” the word “Allah” and the Islamic call to prayer are used.

The video, sung in Mandarin Chinese, shows Namewee dressing in different religious and cultural attire while performing the song at holy places, including a mosque, church and a Buddhist temple.

Malaysia is a majority Muslim country with almost two-thirds of the country practising the religion. But Namewee has irked members of the Muslim community who follow a moderate brand of his Islam with his controversial music.

Wee Meng Chee
Wee Meng Chee

Malaysian singer Wee Meng Chee, also known as Namewee, poses with singer Michiyo Ho on the red carpet at the 27th Golden Melody Awards, Taipei, Taiwan, June 25. Reuters/Tyrone Siu

He has also offended the country’s ruling elite; for example, rapping over the Malaysian national anthem with anti-government lyrics in 2007.

Several groups, who are yet to be identified, had filed complaints about Namewee’s music video in July and now the promo, which had been posted on YouTube, has been taken down.

Namewee said that he had only made the video to promote religious harmony, not to offend the country’s Muslim community.

But a new version uploaded to the video-sharing site has appeared without scenes in front of a mosque.

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