MONSTA X‘s rapper I.M (real name Im Chang Kyun, 임창균) has unveiled the first set of concept photos for his solo debut last night (Sunday, 14th February).
However, things turned unexpectedly sour when one particular photo of the K-pop idol had sparked a major commotion among fans and netizens alike, especially Muslims.
In the photo, eagle-eyed fans were quick to notice that I.M was wearing a shirt with the Bismillah (Basmala) phrase (written in Arabic) printed on it. For those who don’t know, it is a sacred phrase that translates to “In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful.” Furthermore, Muslims also recite it for many different occasions. For example, before reciting the holy Quran and praying.
Many fans have been speculating that the controversial outfit is most likely to be handmade specifically for the teaser picture, since no stores have been discovered selling the item. Soon after that, many Monbebes (as fans are lovingly called) have been calling I.M’s label Starship Entertainment out over their insensitiveness about the issue.
In this case, most of them claimed that the entertainment agency was responsible in coming up with the overall concept and also styling the artiste. Other than that, some even put the blame on I.M. They said that he should have done his due diligence to educate himself as well as to conduct a proper research on the case.
i.m is my bias in monsta x, i'm so disappointed.
i just want to tell you that Arabian languange & Islam are two different things!
he's not a kid, both the stylist & changkyun are wrong, it's 2021 they should've searched the meaning of it, my religion is not for aesthetic purposes
— nad. ∞ (@chancechanseu) February 14, 2021
Why is Islam being used for aesthetic purposes? This is disrespectful to so many Muslims. Starship ent needs to do some research into cultures and religions before using them as concepts. Monsta X and I.M need to realise this too. Idk if they were educated on this but it’s wrong. pic.twitter.com/9F0DdhZgcK
— saru? (@saru_saraa) February 14, 2021
My religion is not an aesthetic shirt pattern for a concept photo .. we do hv this calligraphy art as canvas painting etc but we DO NOT wear them as in our beliefs it's disrespectful to put God's name on your body … pls the artist fans keep emailing the company ? pic.twitter.com/3rUeGr1cFc
— Lia⁷ hobiuary ☀️ (@yerinkth) February 14, 2021
Starship quickly responded to the massive backlash by posting an official apology statement on the group’s official fan cafe. The agency also stated that they have removed all images of I.M donning the controversial shirt.
Read their full statement here: