October 23, 2016

Malaysian singer Namewee held for ‘insulting Islam’

Police had said earlier this month they were investigating the singer after the release of the video

Police have arrested a popular but controversial Malaysian singer, after complaints that his most recent music video “insulted Islam”.

Namewee, whose real name is Wee Meng Chee, was detained on Sunday.

The video of his song Oh My God, which was first released in July, features him and others rapping in front of places of worship around Malaysia.

Namewee, who is known for profanity-laced music, says that Oh My God was intended to promote religious harmony.

Singing in Mandarin Chinese, he rose to fame about five years ago and is also popular in Taiwan and China. In one of his videos he questions Malaysia’s national energy provider over a blackout and another one features a parody of the national anthem, which almost landed him in jail.

Police said the complaints were made by several NGOs, without naming them. Earlier this month police indicated they were investigating Namewee after the release of the Oh My God video.

In it, Namewee and three others appear to sing and dance in front of Buddhist and Taoist temples, inside a church and outside a mosque. The latest version of the video uploaded to YouTube on 20 August, however, does not appear to include a sequence in front of a mosque.

He has also uploaded a video in his defence, where he says the intention of the Oh My God video was in fact to promote religious harmony.

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