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Malaysian Rapper NameWee In Police Custody for Allegedly Insulting Islam

Police could question him under Section 295 of the Malaysian Penal Code, that permits punishment of two years in prison, a fine, or both

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NameWee is taken under police custody. Image source: BenarNews
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August 29, 2016: A Malaysian court has sent controversial hip-hop artist and filmmaker Namewee to jail for four days while police investigate claims that his latest music video insults Islam.

Johor native Namewee, 33, whose real name is Wee Meng Chee, was detained Monday after landing at Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 3:30 a.m. from Taipei and taken to Penang island, where the music video was filmed.

At midmorning, a court in George Town remanded him to custody for four days so that police could question him under Section 295 of the Malaysian Penal Code, which bars defiling houses of worship and insulting religion. Section 295 permits punishment of two years in prison, a fine, or both.

George Town police chief Mior Faridalathrash Wahid confirmed that the arrest and remand would enable police to investigate a controversial music video that Namewee released in July.

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The four-minute video “Oh My God!” was written, produced and directed by Namewee, and features the Malaysian singer alongside the three-member Taiwanese band Nine-One-One.

The mash-up of religious traditions appears to poke fun at invoking the powers that be to overcome problems from a receding hairline to a straying girlfriend. The singers invoke Allah, Jesus and the Virgin Mary, and the Buddhist chant “Namo Amitabha,” among other terms.

Scenes from what looks like Chinese comedy movies are interspersed with footage of the four men singing and dancing in front of places of worship.

The original version released in July featured Buddhist and Taoist temples, a mosque and a church, but that version is no longer available online, according to reports. A second version uploaded on Aug. 20 omits the mosque footage.

Following the release of the original video, multiple parties filed police reports accusing the filmmaker of insulting Islam, including the chairman of the Tanjung Bungah Floating Mosque, one of Penang’s top attractions, according to reports.

In a post to his Facebook page on Monday, Namewee said that the video was meant to promote inter-religious harmony.

He said he did not believe he had done anything wrong and made the decision to return to Malaysia from overseas to face any charges against him.

“If I didn’t do anything wrong, why do I need to run and hide? Malaysia is my home, my country,” he said in a Mandarin-language statement.

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In an earlier Facebook post, Namewee said he had shown his respect for Islam by becoming the first ethnic Chinese singer in history to sing nasyid – poetry with Islamic themes.

His 2015 song “Uncle Lim” is a duet with nasyid singer Yasin Suleimen.

“This is a nasyid song sung in Mandarin in the hip-hop style. Stop your slander and accusations that I insulted Islam,” he wrote on Facebook.

Namewee made waves in 2007 during his student days in Taiwan, when he posted a rap arrangement of the Malaysian national anthem “Negaraku” – and was accused of having insulted the country, the police, ethnic Malays and the Muslim call to prayer.

He was investigated by police for sedition when he returned home in 2008 and later apologized for the video, Channel News Asia reported. (BenarNews)

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Will prohibiting Burqa result in freedom from under house arrest or religious bias?

According to Islam, it is not necessary to cover the face.

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Due to Burqa women can go and vote multiple times. This increases corruption in the election. Wikimedia Commons
Due to Burqa women can go and vote multiple times. This increases corruption in the election. Wikimedia Commons

In recent years there have been several incidents involving the Burqa. In 2009, a state college in Karnataka told a student she was not allowed to attend classes wearing a Burqa. It was later reported that the young girl reached a “compromise arrangement” with the college but did not continue in the same college. Days later, violent protests sparked in Hyderabad after a college principal allegedly told students not to wear a Burqa.

But opposite episodes have also occurred. In July 2010, a teacher at Kolkata’s Aliah University, which has a focus on Islamic studies, was not allowed to teach without a Burqa. The report followed an official notice released in April 2010, in which the university dismissed suggestions it enforced a dress code, mentioning specifically the use of the Burqa within its campus.

There is steep rise in the cases related to crime against burqa clad women. Wikimedia Commons
There is a steep rise in the cases related to crime against Burqa-clad women. Wikimedia Commons

At some point imposing a ban on Burqa will be beneficial…
Point 1:
According to Islam, it is not necessary to cover the face. Hands and face can be uncovered. So banning won’t conflict freedom of practicing religion. And it will not be against any religion.
Point 2:
There are security issues. Imagine man/women under burqa leaves a bag in a public place which later blasts. Now, what do police have? CCTV cameras, forget face they cannot determine if is it male or female due to Burqa. It is the biggest security Loophole.
Point 3:
Many Muslim women do not have a bank account because they are not allowed to cover their face in bank premises. If you didn’t know then yes you cannot cover your face with bank premises and ATM.
Point 4:
It’s easy to have multiple voters ID. Due to Burqa women can go and vote multiple times. This increases corruption in the election.
Point 5:
Crimes under Burqa are on the rise. Murder, kidnapping, robbery are been carried out using Burqa. It’s the biggest advantage for criminals.

What Noorjehan Safia says…
Noorjehan Safia Niaz, a founding member of Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, a movement which works to improve the status of Muslim women in India, said security concerns have not been a major issue when it comes to dressing. “Muslim women in India comply with all the laws. They are active participants when it comes to elections and has their photos on their passports. So identification and security have never been an issue as such,” she said.
Discrimination, however, has sometimes caused problems, said Ms. Niaz. “There are cases when women are not considered for a particular job because they wear a Burqa. In such cases, women have negotiated. They do not wear Burqa while at work but before and after it they put it on.” Overall, Ms. Niaz said that women themselves – not the law – should decide what to wear. “Let each woman decide what she wants to wear. Neither can you enforce a ban on Burqa nor can you force women to wear it.”