Haram Hollywood! Celebs offending Arabs (but might not know it!)

Published March 10th, 2015 - 09:10 GMT

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They say when in Rome, do as the Romans do! The same applies to good old Arabia. But perhaps some visiting Western pop stars didn’t get that memo before jetting off to our end of the globe or referencing our region in their lyrics.

Although you can strut your stuff in a bikini on the beach in Dubai or a mini LBD on Beirut’s corniche, certain things just can’t be done in our fairly conservative countries. Yes, we’re talking to you Justin Bieber! Continue reading below »

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Former Disney princess Selena Gomez royally pissed off the locals in Abu Dhabi when she posted a picture of herself flashing her ankle in the Grand Mosque. What’s the big deal, you ask? Smiling and acting silly are considered disrespectful in a mosque, and showing skin for sex appeal is certainly a big no-no.
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Image 1 of 10:  1 / 10Former Disney princess Selena Gomez royally pissed off the locals in Abu Dhabi when she posted a picture of herself flashing her ankle in the Grand Mosque. What’s the big deal, you ask? Smiling and acting silly are considered disrespectful in a mosque, and showing skin for sex appeal is certainly a big no-no.

Enlarge
Rihanna learned a similar lesson when she visited the same mosque. Although the R&B superstar was sporting a hijab and a full-body jumpsuit, she was asked to leave the premises for turning the holy site into a photo shoot location.
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Image 2 of 10:  2 / 10Rihanna learned a similar lesson when she visited the same mosque. Although the R&B superstar was sporting a hijab and a full-body jumpsuit, she was asked to leave the premises for turning the holy site into a photo shoot location.

Enlarge
“Killing an Arab” by The Cure caused controversy so many times the band changed the lyrics for live performances. Robert Smith says the 1978 tune attempted to capture elements of Camus’ novel The Stranger. It actually has an anti-racist message, lost on people who don’t listen past the title. Smith says he’d change the name if he could.
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Image 3 of 10:  3 / 10“Killing an Arab” by The Cure caused controversy so many times the band changed the lyrics for live performances. Robert Smith says the 1978 tune attempted to capture elements of Camus’ novel The Stranger. It actually has an anti-racist message, lost on people who don’t listen past the title. Smith says he’d change the name if he could.

Enlarge
Katy Perry wreaked havoc when an extra so recklessly wore 'Allah' (the equivalent of a cross for Muslims) as a pendant in her 'Dark Horse' music video. Adding fuel to the fire, the pendant went up in flames! Social media users branded the vid as “blasphemous” for using God’s name inappropriately.
Reduce

Image 4 of 10:  4 / 10Katy Perry wreaked havoc when an extra so recklessly wore "Allah" (the equivalent of a cross for Muslims) as a pendant in her "Dark Horse" music video. Adding fuel to the fire, the pendant went up in flames! Social media users branded the vid as “blasphemous” for using God’s name inappropriately.

Enlarge
Psy (aka “you know, that Gangnam Style guy”) wisely decided to rework his track “Assarabia” before it was released. The name comes from a Korean expression that sounds like “ass arabia” and means, roughly, “oh yeah.” It’s not offensive in Korean - it’s just a bizarre linguistic coincidence.
Reduce

Image 5 of 10:  5 / 10Psy (aka “you know, that Gangnam Style guy”) wisely decided to rework his track “Assarabia” before it was released. The name comes from a Korean expression that sounds like “ass arabia” and means, roughly, “oh yeah.” It’s not offensive in Korean - it’s just a bizarre linguistic coincidence.

Enlarge
Dillon Francis ft. DJ Snake decided that 'dressing as an Arab' is actually a thing and went for it in the “Get Low” music video. They’re seen ludicrously prancing about, surrounded by half-naked women, while they carelessly throw wads of cash at them for twerking their derrieres. Ummm... where do we even begin?
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Image 6 of 10:  6 / 10Dillon Francis ft. DJ Snake decided that "dressing as an Arab" is actually a thing and went for it in the “Get Low” music video. They’re seen ludicrously prancing about, surrounded by half-naked women, while they carelessly throw wads of cash at them for twerking their derrieres. Ummm... where do we even begin?

Enlarge
“Achmed the Dead Terrorist” is a character created by American ventriloquist and comedian Jeff Dunham. Some Arabs find the puppet offensive because it plays on stereotypes and references Islam in an exaggerated and disrespectful way. We bet the satirical Christmas edition song “Jingle Bombs” did not go over well!
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Image 7 of 10:  7 / 10“Achmed the Dead Terrorist” is a character created by American ventriloquist and comedian Jeff Dunham. Some Arabs find the puppet offensive because it plays on stereotypes and references Islam in an exaggerated and disrespectful way. We bet the satirical Christmas edition song “Jingle Bombs” did not go over well!

Enlarge
Meanwhile, some celebrities are just the most offensive by being themselves. James Kottak drank a tad more than he could handle and got himself in hot water at Dubai Intl Airport. Word has it that he took his pants off and found other 'creative' ways to insult Muslims, from the middle finger to outright slurs.
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Image 8 of 10:  8 / 10Meanwhile, some celebrities are just the most offensive by being themselves. James Kottak drank a tad more than he could handle and got himself in hot water at Dubai Intl Airport. Word has it that he took his pants off and found other "creative" ways to insult Muslims, from the middle finger to outright slurs.

Enlarge
And the 'most offensive' trophy goes to... Busta Rhymes! His song 'Arab Money' is the worst of them all. A distasteful combo referencing gambling with Arafat and asking Muslims to worship him; you’d think there’s something to the song more than being plain offensive, but there really isn’t.
Reduce

Image 9 of 10:  9 / 10And the "most offensive" trophy goes to... Busta Rhymes! His song "Arab Money" is the worst of them all. A distasteful combo referencing gambling with Arafat and asking Muslims to worship him; you’d think there’s something to the song more than being plain offensive, but there really isn’t.

Enlarge
Oh, and it's probs wise to follow the laws of the land in your host country. Canadian pop star Justin Bieber unbelievably accrued six speeding tickets in a rented Lamborghini he was likely too young to have obtained insurance on in Dubai!
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Image 10 of 10:  10 / 10Oh, and it's probs wise to follow the laws of the land in your host country. Canadian pop star Justin Bieber unbelievably accrued six speeding tickets in a rented Lamborghini he was likely too young to have obtained insurance on in Dubai!

Enlarge

1

Former Disney princess Selena Gomez royally pissed off the locals in Abu Dhabi when she posted a picture of herself flashing her ankle in the Grand Mosque. What’s the big deal, you ask? Smiling and acting silly are considered disrespectful in a mosque, and showing skin for sex appeal is certainly a big no-no.

Image 1 of 10Former Disney princess Selena Gomez royally pissed off the locals in Abu Dhabi when she posted a picture of herself flashing her ankle in the Grand Mosque. What’s the big deal, you ask? Smiling and acting silly are considered disrespectful in a mosque, and showing skin for sex appeal is certainly a big no-no.

2

Rihanna learned a similar lesson when she visited the same mosque. Although the R&B superstar was sporting a hijab and a full-body jumpsuit, she was asked to leave the premises for turning the holy site into a photo shoot location.

Image 2 of 10Rihanna learned a similar lesson when she visited the same mosque. Although the R&B superstar was sporting a hijab and a full-body jumpsuit, she was asked to leave the premises for turning the holy site into a photo shoot location.

3

“Killing an Arab” by The Cure caused controversy so many times the band changed the lyrics for live performances. Robert Smith says the 1978 tune attempted to capture elements of Camus’ novel The Stranger. It actually has an anti-racist message, lost on people who don’t listen past the title. Smith says he’d change the name if he could.

Image 3 of 10“Killing an Arab” by The Cure caused controversy so many times the band changed the lyrics for live performances. Robert Smith says the 1978 tune attempted to capture elements of Camus’ novel The Stranger. It actually has an anti-racist message, lost on people who don’t listen past the title. Smith says he’d change the name if he could.

4

Katy Perry wreaked havoc when an extra so recklessly wore 'Allah' (the equivalent of a cross for Muslims) as a pendant in her 'Dark Horse' music video. Adding fuel to the fire, the pendant went up in flames! Social media users branded the vid as “blasphemous” for using God’s name inappropriately.

Image 4 of 10Katy Perry wreaked havoc when an extra so recklessly wore "Allah" (the equivalent of a cross for Muslims) as a pendant in her "Dark Horse" music video. Adding fuel to the fire, the pendant went up in flames! Social media users branded the vid as “blasphemous” for using God’s name inappropriately.

5

Psy (aka “you know, that Gangnam Style guy”) wisely decided to rework his track “Assarabia” before it was released. The name comes from a Korean expression that sounds like “ass arabia” and means, roughly, “oh yeah.” It’s not offensive in Korean - it’s just a bizarre linguistic coincidence.

Image 5 of 10Psy (aka “you know, that Gangnam Style guy”) wisely decided to rework his track “Assarabia” before it was released. The name comes from a Korean expression that sounds like “ass arabia” and means, roughly, “oh yeah.” It’s not offensive in Korean - it’s just a bizarre linguistic coincidence.

6

Dillon Francis ft. DJ Snake decided that 'dressing as an Arab' is actually a thing and went for it in the “Get Low” music video. They’re seen ludicrously prancing about, surrounded by half-naked women, while they carelessly throw wads of cash at them for twerking their derrieres. Ummm... where do we even begin?

Image 6 of 10Dillon Francis ft. DJ Snake decided that "dressing as an Arab" is actually a thing and went for it in the “Get Low” music video. They’re seen ludicrously prancing about, surrounded by half-naked women, while they carelessly throw wads of cash at them for twerking their derrieres. Ummm... where do we even begin?

7

“Achmed the Dead Terrorist” is a character created by American ventriloquist and comedian Jeff Dunham. Some Arabs find the puppet offensive because it plays on stereotypes and references Islam in an exaggerated and disrespectful way. We bet the satirical Christmas edition song “Jingle Bombs” did not go over well!

Image 7 of 10“Achmed the Dead Terrorist” is a character created by American ventriloquist and comedian Jeff Dunham. Some Arabs find the puppet offensive because it plays on stereotypes and references Islam in an exaggerated and disrespectful way. We bet the satirical Christmas edition song “Jingle Bombs” did not go over well!

8

Meanwhile, some celebrities are just the most offensive by being themselves. James Kottak drank a tad more than he could handle and got himself in hot water at Dubai Intl Airport. Word has it that he took his pants off and found other 'creative' ways to insult Muslims, from the middle finger to outright slurs.

Image 8 of 10Meanwhile, some celebrities are just the most offensive by being themselves. James Kottak drank a tad more than he could handle and got himself in hot water at Dubai Intl Airport. Word has it that he took his pants off and found other "creative" ways to insult Muslims, from the middle finger to outright slurs.

9

And the 'most offensive' trophy goes to... Busta Rhymes! His song 'Arab Money' is the worst of them all. A distasteful combo referencing gambling with Arafat and asking Muslims to worship him; you’d think there’s something to the song more than being plain offensive, but there really isn’t.

Image 9 of 10And the "most offensive" trophy goes to... Busta Rhymes! His song "Arab Money" is the worst of them all. A distasteful combo referencing gambling with Arafat and asking Muslims to worship him; you’d think there’s something to the song more than being plain offensive, but there really isn’t.

10

Oh, and it's probs wise to follow the laws of the land in your host country. Canadian pop star Justin Bieber unbelievably accrued six speeding tickets in a rented Lamborghini he was likely too young to have obtained insurance on in Dubai!

Image 10 of 10Oh, and it's probs wise to follow the laws of the land in your host country. Canadian pop star Justin Bieber unbelievably accrued six speeding tickets in a rented Lamborghini he was likely too young to have obtained insurance on in Dubai!

Reduce

Don’t get us wrong, we love hosting international artists, especially when they’ve traveled land and sea to sing their souls out for us or to pop in at a glitz & glam red-carpet event. It’s just like, could they tame it down a little for our traditionalists?

We’ve got to give it to Lady Gaga, though. She was on her best behavior when she showed up to the UAE for her Dubai gig - no nudity or distasteful meat dresses were in her stage wardrobe - but she still managed to post some pics from her hotel room that made local fans blush.

We’re not here to name and shame these unenlightened stars, but maybe this can be a cultural lesson for all our future A-list guests from the West on what not to do in the Middle East if they want to keep the peace.

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