AceShowbiz - Monsta X rapper I.M.'s agency Starship Entertainment has issued an apology after the K-pop star caused controversy by wearing a T-shirt featuring an Islamic phrase.
The musician had donned the shirt to tease his upcoming solo project "Duality", with many social media users pointing out that the Arabic phrase was emblazoned on the front.
"Tw // Islamphobia. for those who don't know this is the bimilla on his top, it says 'bismillahirahmanirahim' which means 'In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,' " one person wrote on Twitter. "And we say it before reading the Quran. its not an aesthetic, muslims shouldn't even have Allahname."
Following the backlash, Starship Entertainment removed all the images of I.M. in the top from Monsta X's social media pages, and issued an apology via the group's official fan cafe.
"We should have taken further measures to ensure that there were no religious implications in the concept photos in advance and we regret not being able to scrutinise it fully," the statement read. "We deeply apologise to those who felt uncomfortable with our actions."
"(We) will make every effort to prevent a recurrence. Again, we pay and extend our sincere apologies."
I.M. was not the only K-pop star who angered Muslims over the use of Quranic verses in their works.
Back in 2016, singer CL came under fire for incorporating an Islamic religious text into a song on her Hello B*tches Tour. "To anyone I have offended I sincerely apologize for my mistake," she said back then. "What happened was my engineer sent the old version of 'MTBD' for this tour. I take responsibility for not realizing this sooner. My intention was never to use this version."
Last year in October, boyband NCT U faced backlash for using an image of a mosque and a line from Islamic prayer during their live performance.