What you need to know
Commentators say the music video is 'an embarrassment to Taiwan,' but the band says it's a victim.
A music video by Malaysian rapper Namewee (黃明志) and Taiwanese band 911 (玖壹壹) has sparked outrage on the Internet for its portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad.
The video shows a number of religious figures, including the Prophet Muhammad, whose depiction is prohibited in the Koran. It shows a man-like Muhammad drinking, gambling, and holding a gun.
In a YouTube video uploaded by DREAM清醒夢LUCID, two British men living in Taiwan say the video has “really tarnished the name of Taiwan.”
“If you are going to portray religious figures in this way, you need to be very aware of what you’re doing. There needs to be some deeper message,” one of the men says in the video.
The DREAM清醒夢LUCID video also points to the 2015 Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris after the weekly satirized religion and published cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.
There is “real danger” in such portrayals, they say, adding that the music video has “made Taiwan less safe.”
In addition to the potential threat the music video poses to public safety, the video could exacerbate intolerance toward the minority Muslim population in Taiwan, the men say.
“Everyone in Taiwan has become a target for religious extremists because of this band,” they say.
The men say the band is “trying to be controversial for the sake of being controversial” and are “taking refugee in audacity” because "they have very little to offer."
The band does not represent Taiwan, they say, adding that they have never come across religious violence in the country.
Malaysian authorities have conducted an investigation into Namewee and 911 for "defiling a place of worship with the intention of insulting religion."
Namewee was detained for four days before being released yesterday, and Malaysian police say they "will get assistance from Interpol to find the three men [members of 911] to record their statements.”
In a post on 911’s official Facebook page today, Ainoko-Production Inc., the band’s agency, said it had requested the Malaysian agency, Red People, remove the scenes with religious costumes when the first cut of the music video was sent to it for review in July.
The agency said it told Red People the music video was not to be released until both parties had agreed to do so, but an unedited version was leaked three hours after that message was communicated. The YouTube video uploaded by the two British, it says, was “twisting the truth” and sought “to draw controversy through spreading an unofficial music video.”
It said it does not rule out taking legal action against the two men.
The post has since been removed from the Facebook page.
First Editor: Edward White
Second Editor: J. Michael Cole