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Monday, 22 August 2016
Malaysian singer Namewee held for 'insulting Islam'
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. He is known for his profanity-laced music
The offending video, for his song Oh My God, was first released in July and features him rapping in front of places of worship around Malaysia.
Namewee insists that Oh My God was intended to promote religious harmony.
But on Monday Malaysian police remanded the 33-year-old singer in custody for four days to investigate him for "defiling a place of worship with intention to insult religion". The charge carries a jail term of up to two years.
About two thirds of Malaysians are Muslim, though the country also has significant Buddhist, Christian and Hindu populations. But there have been a number of instances in recent years of blogs and certain representations of Islam stoking controversy in the country.
The singer makes several religious references, using terms such as "Allah" and "Hallelujah". Namewee and three others also 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.
Representatives from 20 local NGOs lodged some 10 reports against the singer.
"We had lodged the report based on five characters that were used in the music video which had...uttered the word 'Allah'," said Azdy Moh Arshad, who spoke for the coalition of NGOs.
He added that Namewee's actions had caused anger among Muslims in Malaysia.
What has Namewee said?
Namewee was arrested on Sunday at Kuala Lumpur International Airport after returning from an overseas trip.