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BTS' RM denies Islamophobia, says he won't apologize

By Choi Ji-won

Published : Sept. 1, 2023 - 16:43

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BTS' RM speaks during Weverse live broadcast on Wednesday. (Screenshots from Weverse) BTS' RM speaks during Weverse live broadcast on Wednesday. (Screenshots from Weverse)

BTS' rapper and leader RM addressed the issue of Islamophobia building up around him, denying any intention to insult the religion and stating he has no reasons to apologize.

The controversy was sparked in August, when RM shared American singer Frank Ocean's "Bad Religion" on his Instagram story. The 2012 song talks about loving without the restraint of religion, but some parts were interpreted by listeners as Islamophobic.

Online anger mounted over the next days, with many taking to his social media to condemn his action as religiously insulting and demanding for an apology to Muslims.

RM, in realizing the situation will not cool by itself, broke the silence on Wednesday.

"You keep telling that I insulted a religion, but I didn't. There was no intention or purpose to insult a religion. I respect every belief and religion. That's all I could say," RM said during a Weverse live broadcast on Thursday.

RM, well known for his honest communications on various topics and about himself, again confronted the situation and spoke up for himself.

"I understand what's going on on my Instagram. I can see. But there was no such purpose or even at least 1 percent of intention in my heart to insult a religion," he added, shaking his head and rolling his eyes in apparent frustration.

RM also clarified he was not apologizing and asked for respect from those people attacking him unreasonably.

"I’m not apologizing. I'm just saying. I have my own soul. I’m 30 years old. I can express my truth. ... Please, the word is the word; it is what it is. Please believe my words from myself, not just guessing, pretending and assuming," he said.

The rapper acknowledged such misunderstandings have repeated over his decade-long career and said he has had enough.

"I didn't want to say about this but some people just made me say about this. I just can't stand right now. I've been holding my things in my heart for 10 years. But now I can't deal with this. I just have to say. If it's me, believe my own words," he said, adding, "Problems happen but I am a strong man."

RM, whose real name is Kim Nam-joon, is the leader and rapper-producer of BTS. The group is currently amid a group hiatus for the members to focus on their solo works and serve the military.