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RM of BTS refuses to apologise – K-pop and Islamophobia

“And you say, ‘Allahu Akbar’, I told him, ‘Don’t curse me’,” say the lyrics of Frank Ocean’s song, ‘Bad Religion’.

The song appears to talk about the bi singer’s identity struggle, and how he feels that he has gone past the point of no return. Fully aware that no religion accepts homosexuality, the singer appears to mourn the fact that he has an ‘unrequited love’, and that he cannot be saved by God.

The lyrics clearly pinpoint Islam in the chorus as a ‘bad religion’.

The leader of #BTS, #RM, shared this song on his instagram story. Muslims, even his own fans, began demanding an apology for his spread of hate speech. No Muslim should feel comfortable around music, let alone such clearly anti-islam lyrics. 

This seemed to get to him, as on a Live soon afterwards, an exasperated RM asked why people kept demanding an apology for something he ‘had no intention to do’. “Guys, it’s a song,” he said, clearly implying the outrage was an overreaction. He claimed that he respected all religions and that since he’s ‘30 years old’, he can ‘express his truth out.’ “I’m not apologising,” RM said, taking a sip of his drink.

It doesn’t matter what he intended or not. If you thrash someone accidentally, it’s basic manners to still apologise. He still shared content that was Islamophobic and extremely disrespectful towards the faith professed by 2 billion people in the world. The fact that he straight-up refused to apologise is actually a selfish move, possibly showing that he has no interest in trying to understand why he actually offended people. 

Is only RM at fault though? No. In fact, islamophobia has a long history in K-pop. BLACKPINK have openly supported the same song and have lyrics disrespecting the Prophets, NCT-U have culturally appropriated mosques in their music video and merch, and rapper Jay Park made a dubious apology after a revolting song that compared himself to Allah. 

The bottom line is, it doesn’t matter what they intend. Even if, as K-pop stans so religiously believe, they have some of the nicest qualities in the world, are they still our ticket to Jannah? Will they make us become better Muslims? Should our role models be overworked, feminine, depressed K-pop idols or our real Muslim heroes? It is worth pondering upon.

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