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Rihanna apologises for using Islamic hadith in lingerie show

Singer expresses regret at 'honest yet careless mistake', after catwalk song appeared to sample a Kuwaiti preacher
Rihanna said she was "incredibly disheartened" by the hurt her lingerie show launch caused to the Muslim community (AFP/File photo)

Rihanna has apologised to the Muslim community following a backlash over lingerie models dancing to a remix of an Islamic hadith at her latest fashion show. 

Social media users accused the 32-year-old singer and businesswoman of disrespecting Islam, after her Savage X Fenty Volume 2 show, released on Amazon Prime last week, used the track “Doom” by London-based producer Coucou Chloe. 

The song appears to sample a narration of a hadith, a saying by the Prophet Muhammad which Muslims use as guidance, recited by renowed Kuwaiti preacher Mishary bin Rashid Alafasy.

“I’d like to thank the Muslim community for pointing out a huge oversight that was unintentionally offensive in our Savage X Fenty Show. I would more importantly like to apologise to you for this honest, yet careless mistake,” Rihanna said in a statement on Instagram.

“We understand that we have hurt many of our Muslim brothers and sisters, and I’m incredibly disheartened by this! I do not play with any kind of disrespect towards God or any religion and therefore the use of the song in our project was completely irresponsible.”

The Barbadian singer concluded her apology by ensuring that such an incident would not happen again, and thanked fans for their “forgiveness and understanding”.

The song’s producer Chloe also issued an apology on Monday, after initially deactivating her Twitter and Facebook accounts. 

"I want to deeply apologise for the offence caused by the vocal samples used in my song 'Doom'. The song was created using samples from Baile Funk tracks I found online. At the time, I was not aware that these samples used text from an Islamic Hadith," she said. 

"I take full responsibility for the fact I did not research these words properly and want to thank those of you who have taken the time to explain this to me. We have been in the process of having the song urgently removed from all streaming platforms."

The use of the hadith in the show came as a surprise to many, as Rihanna has often been praised for championing diversity and inclusivity. 

The Savage X Fenty launch last week was commended for including models of different races and sizes, earning particular plaudits for including plus-sized male models.

The singer also included hijab-wearing model Halima Aden in the launch of her cosmetic brand Fenty Beauty in 2017, and promoted Fenty sunglasses last year with a hijabi model.

While some Muslims on social media accused Rihanna of using Islam as an “aesthetic”, others have accepted her apology and deemed it a genuine mistake, given the singer’s track record on diversity.