BTS‘s RM is currently under fire for sharing what some believe to be an Islamophobic song, though it has been repeatedly debated.
On August 16, RM shared a track to his Instagram story, which is not unusual for the star. The song shared is a track from Frank Ocean’s debut studio album, Channel Orange, titled “Bad Religion.”
Frank Ocean is an American singer, songwriter, and rapper whose music is universally liked and well-received by listeners and critics alike. Even those that do not listen to his music are likely familiar with memes and other content about his not-so-frequent performance and release schedule.
Like many of his other songs, “Bad Religion” is about love, with this track depicting Frank sharing his experience with an unrequited love with a taxi driver. When the song was released, several lines from the chorus caught attention, inspiring debate over their meaning.
And you say ‘Allahu Akbar’
I told him, ‘Don’t curse me’
‘Bo Bo, you need prayer’
I guess it couldn’t hurt me
If it brings me to my knees, it’s a bad religion
— Frank Ocean’s “Bad Religion”
Allahu Akbar is an Arabic phrase often used in Islam, meaning “God is greatest,” Frank Ocean’s response of “Don’t curse me” has been interpreted in multiple ways. A common one is that Ocean already suffers from the “religion” of love and doesn’t wish to have another.
Another possible explanation is that Ocean’s attraction to men is shunned by many who follow different religions, meaning he may see the prayer in a negative light.
The line “If it brings me to my knees, it’s a bad religion” also stirred mixed feelings, as many religions like Islam involve praying on the knees. This is also meant to have a double meaning, as the “bad religion” is clarified in the song’s outro.
It’s a, it’s a bad religion
To be in love with someone
Who could never love you
Oh, oh, oh, only bad, only bad religion
Could have me feeling the way I do
Some Muslims have found the song’s lyrics problematic despite having a double meaning, leading to the current mixed reaction RM faces over sharing the song as some seek to clarify its deeper meanings.
BTS’ RM shared an islamophobic song on his ig story and i’m talking about me and all muslims that this is shameful bcs he’s a @/UNICEF ambassador who is supposed to fight rac!sm not to support and what is happening now is he insulting Islam openly? pic.twitter.com/a6UMLmtDY7
— ໊ (@gorwony) August 16, 2023
There’s no excuse for such disgusting thing like this stop speaking on other ppls religion and acting it’s something normal when you are not Muslim Islamophobia is Islamophobia and it should never be normalized
RM APOLOGISE TO MUSLIMS
وكل شخص راح يدافع عليه كل رْق من الحين
— H☆ (@Euphxria97c) August 16, 2023
"Many people confuse Frank Ocean's choice of example and the title of the song as a diss towards Islam because he sings "Allahu Akbar," which is Arabic for "God is great," and then goes on to sing "but don't curse me," in reply to the Taxi driver that is praying an Islamic prayer… pic.twitter.com/mE182v66QW
— ²¹⁷RM Indigo Union⁷ (@RMGlobalUnion) August 16, 2023