Is Katy Perry a Muslim hater? I don't think so. But she now joins the list of global headlining acts such as those behind the Danish Muhammad cartoons and the Quran burning pastor. She's caused offence to Muslims world wide for featuring an Allah pendant worn by an extra in her music video 'Dark Horse'. To be more specific, 60,000 petitioners are offended. It's probably higher now.
It's undeniable that religious symbols have been a clear target by Islamophobes intent on provoking grievance to a population of Muslims who possess a protective reverence towards the names of their Lord and the legacy of their Prophets. The hurt and offence is understandable.
But the offence fuelled by the so called conspiracy laden belief that the devil worshiping billion dollar music industry is making inroads to attack Islam is an energy wasted.
"If we don't make a vocal stand now we fall for everything" is the appropriated Malcolm X quote that I've been hit with as I speak to those offended by the choice of jewellery in the music video. Even the mere comparison of the Ottoman empire giving in to secular ideals and losing its pathway has been mentioned as a comparison.
I don't like dictating people's sensitivities but when it lacks sense, I need to make the point that 60,000 signatures is an overreaction. Let's be clear, the man wearing the pendant, as part of the story plot in the music video, disintegrated. The pendant was not the target. Even the accusation that it could be covert targeting really does not convince. It was a fashion accessory, albeit a poor choice for an ancient Egyptian video shoot where Arabic was not even the language of the times being depicted.
Where are the prominent petitions making headlines against the Music industry's degrading representation of women or the early sexualisation of young music fans?
Lots of signatures have come from UK, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Morocco, Lebanon and the US. Where are the signatures showing the sadness about the demolition of the historical Muslim sites in Saudi Arabia? These are Muslim historical symbols which will soon be eradicated and if not conserved, forgotten.
And yes, I've used the argument that there are more important issues than the Katy Perry saga.
Instead, 60,000 signatures have made the headlines. Katy Perry's video is probably trending in some micro blogging site. YouTube is probably getting huge hits for "Dark Horse" because of people's curiosity, interest or disappointment. Mobile devices, laptops and computers are set to pause and zoom in on the offending article. And yes, zoom in is required. Blink and you miss the pendant.
Note, I'm staying clear of the term rage. My annoyance at the petition is not intended to reinforce the narrative perpetuated by Time magazine recently. But I think there is an important reminder that our sense of offence needs a reality check.