Pop singer Katy Perry has been accused by some in the Muslim community that her latest video, "Dark Horse," is blasphemous due to its representation of a pendant with the words "Allah" written in Arabic.
The music video, released on Feb. 20, shows Perry dressed as an Egyptian princess, choosing from a series of suitors who present her with gifts such as jewelry and fine foods. The first of these suitors is a young man wearing a gold cape and various jewels, who presents the pop singer with a large diamond. At the 1:15 mark in the video, the camera shows the man wearing a necklace with a pendant that reads "Allah" in the Arabic language. Once Perry receives the diamond, she shows her displeasure with the gift by turning the suitor into dust using lightning, and with him goes the religious-themed necklace.
Some in the Muslim community who have viewed the music video argue that the dissolving of the "Allah" pendant necklace is blasphemous. Shazad Iqbal, a Muslim man from Bradford, England, started an online petition urging YouTube to remove Perry's new video. The "Dark Horse" video has attracted over 30 million views on YouTube since it was uploaded on Feb. 20, and Iqbal's online petition has received over 40,000 signatures.
"The video is considered as highly controversial to its viewers as a result of its portrayal of blasphemy," the petition reads. "Blasphemy is clearly conveyed in the video, since Katy Perry engulfs the believer and the word God in flames."
"This is the reason for lodging the petition so that people from different walks of life, different religions and from different parts of the world, agree that the video promotes blasphemy," the petition continues. "Using the name of God in an irrelevant and distasteful manner would be considered inappropriate by any religion."
Unik Salihu from Sweden, who opposes the music video, wrote on the petition's website: "I as a Muslim, think this is a disgrace. Does she want to start a war against Muslims? This video is insulting to us and needs to be removed before something happens!"
This is not the first time the pop singer has found herself in hot water for being culturally insensitive. Perry received criticism earlier in 2013 at the American Music Awards when she dressed as a geisha for a Japanese-themed opening performance. The pop star was criticized for insulting Japanese culture and overly-sexualizing a classic female culture icon.
"Dark Horse" is Perry's third single off her album Prism. The artist's record label has yet to comment on the recent backlash regarding the video.