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28 Feb 2014 00:00
ticketing boxoffice Katy Perry Dark Horse video 'portrays blasphemy'
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The video features the pop star as an Egyptian queen who transforms suitors into sand by disintegrating them.

Shazad Iqbal, from Bradford, has started an online petition for it to be removed from YouTube after he spotted one of the suitors wearing a pendant with the Arabic word for God on it. More than 60,000 people have signed the petition, saying the clip is offensive.

Explaining his reasons for starting the petition, Mr Iqbal wrote: "At 01:15 into the video Dark Horse a man is shown being burned, whilst wearing a pendant (also burned) forming the word Allah.

"Blasphemy is clearly conveyed in the video, since Katy Perry (who appears to be representing an opposition of God) engulfs the believer and the word God in flames."He added: "Using the name of God in an irrelevant and distasteful manner would be considered inappropriate by any religion."My only request is to all artists in the music industry: You have wealth, fame and success - please do not use the foundations of other religions in a mockery to carry out your fame."

One of Perry's suitors is disintegrated while wearing a pendant with Allah, the Arabic word for God, on it

As well as the UK, signatories have come from countries including Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Morocco, Lebanon and the US.

However, some of the 60,000 petitioners have posted spam and offensive messages against the petition. In a follow-up post, Mr Iqbal said he had not started the campaign "to cause controversy or to cause hate but rather to gain support in having the video removed", and asked those posting comments to "please write thoughtfully".

Gregoire Singer from Switzerland wrote: "I'm a tolerant Muslim, but there are limits to ignorance, which here leads to blasphemous acts. It's a matter of respect."

Mohamed Maan, from the Netherlands, added: "I am offended as a Muslim. It shows no respect. You can compare the feeling to someone burning a picture of somebody you love dearly."

While Ayesha Akthar, from London, said: "[I] used to like her songs before but now I have deleted them all from my MP3 player and laptop."

The Dark Horse video has attracted more than 34 million views since it premiered on YouTube on 20 February.

Perry grew up in a devout Christian home, and both of her parents are Pentecostal ministers.

The singer began singing Christian gospel music before launching a pop career. She recently told Marie Claire magazine she does not identify with any particular religion, but feels "a deep connection with God".

"I pray all the time—for self-control, for humility. There's a lot of gratitude in it. Just saying 'thank you' sometimes is better than asking for things," she added. Perry's record label and YouTube have yet to respond to BBC requests for a comment on the petition.

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