On September 8, 2021, the term “Hina Islam K-pop” was seen getting discussed everywhere. When looked further, it was seen that there were posts and screenshots from different social media, all containing the #mnetapologise. So what happened that drove the netizens so mad and where does the term “Hina Islam” come from? Let’s take a close look at the issue.
M-net came up with a new dance competition show called “Street Woman Fighter”. It was seen gaining a lot of attention and attraction from viewers all around the world. With an interesting theme and refreshing take on the idea of dance battles, “Street Women Fighter” was garnering good attention from viewers all around the globe. But during the airing of its first episode, something happened that made all the netizens super angry. The show was found appropriating the Islamic culture which was also deemed as disrespectful by the audience.
In the opening of the first episode of the show “Street Woman Fighter”, M-net played a song that was noticed to be the remix version of Azaan. Azaan or Adhaan which literally means “announcement” is an Arabic call to prayer. The Azaan is recited before prayers, indicating the believers to join for the prayer, five times a day. When found out by the Islam audience, it lead to immediate outrage and disappointment.
What is Hina Islam K-Pop?
In the same context, the term “Hina Islam K-Pop” was seen to be trending everywhere. For the audience with no prior information, it might be a little confusing. But, here is a detailed explanation of the origin of this term.
When looked up the aforementioned term, we were lead to Indonesian search results. The majority of the videos and articles that showed up were from Indonesian media outlets. Upon further search, we found out that the term literally translates to “hated Islam”.
— nurain.zaki 🇲🇾🇵🇸 (@penaklukdakwah) September 8, 2021
It was heartbreaking to have seen that the netizens were so disappointed that they got this term trending. All the posts mentioned under the said term were talking about how M-net displayed their ignorance while showing no concern and absolute disrespect to the holy prayer of the Muslim audience.
I need yall on raising awareness on a very controversial topic about mnet's editing.
In Street Woman fighter Mnet decided to use Adhan as an intro [from 00:57 – 1:40]@MnetKR pic.twitter.com/8UR0knE3Yz
— 717 (@luotianguo) September 4, 2021
The netizens went ahead to mention that Islam is beautiful but using it for aesthetic purposes is a display of pure ignorance.
Under the same topic, the netizens began to trend the #mnetapologise. It was to bring to M-net’s notice the mistake they had made. They claimed that remixing the sound wouldn’t make them not recognize their holy chanting and that it should be taken under serious consideration.
— ira | ia (study) (@sunflower_mingi) September 8, 2021
— __ (@Snowxx11) September 8, 2021
After the endless posting and outrage of the audience, M-net finally acknowledged the issue and posted an apology letter for hurting the religious sentiments of the viewers. Despite the apology, the netizens did not seem satisfied with the kind of response they got from the company. They claimed that it is not possible to have found the audio and not know about its origin. Apart from this, it is not the first time the K-Pop industry was spotted appropriating a different culture. There have been countless instances in the past where the ignorance of the industry was clearly visible.
In addition, many popular groups like BlackPink and NCT have also been found appropriating the south Asian cultures, especially bringing in pictures the religious sentiments. In the ‘How You Like That’ music video, during Lisa’s part, a Ganesha idol was found casually put on the ground in the background as the female idol sat on the sofa and rapped her verse. After bringing it to the notice of the agency, the part from the music video was edited out and the statue was removed.
Also, NCT U was found to be appropriating Islam as they added the imagery of what looked like Kabba (a religious shrine for Muslims) in the background, along with religious text written on the floor. Furthermore, significant religious symbols like Gayatri Mantra and Bindi were also seen as getting used for aesthetic purposes by different groups.
The instances of cultural appropriation have been countless in the history of K-Pop. Some of these get noticed and are apologized for while others are found being ignored conveniently. Amidst this haywire, the question still remains that is the K-Pop industry showing their ignorance on purpose? For how long will this continue and when will they start reflecting thoughtfulness in their concepts?