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Thursday 18 December  
Showing the Burqa Shirt
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Death threats for singer of burqa song

Published on : 27 January 2012 - 2:35pm | By Johan van der Tol (Photo: Vlemmix/Frerieke)
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Dutch satirist Johan Vlemmix has decided not to perform his latest hit Do the Burqa onstage following death threats.

The song, a carnival parody to the music of Van McCoy's Do the Hustle, is a huge success on YouTube, so much so that the video provider has switched off the comments facility. Too many people were posting angry reactions saying that they had been insulted.

The images show a woman wearing a T-shirt which can be instantly converted into a burqa, be it one that does not cover the breasts.

Mr Vlemmix said he had expected some commotion over his song: "I'm not exactly dumb." But he had failed to anticipate the virulence of the reactions: "I really meant it as a joke. Because the burqa is banned in the Netherlands I thought it was fun to offer a carnival alternative for it: the burqa shirt."

Carnival, a colourful, musical and noisy feast celebrated annually in the southern half of the Netherlands, is often used to mock authorities and make fun of social issues by people dressed up or disguised in humorous creations.

He has not only stopped performing the song onstage, Johan Vlemmix has also cancelled the option to order the shirts
via his website. But he stops short at pulling the video from Youtube: "I made it because I was convinced it was right, and I refuse to take it down."

It's not the first time that a carnival song by Johan Vlemmix caused a stir. Four years ago people from Poland reacted angrily to his song A busload of Poles, about Polish plumbers flooding the Dutch labour market. But, Mr Vlemmix said, "that was caused by an incorrect translation". Another song of his, about the deadly bird flu virus, also failed to find universal approval. But none of his earlier songs ever led to death threats.

Only once did such threats lead to an actual murder. Film director and columnist Theo van Gogh was killed in 2004 by a Dutch Muslim extremist, who was later arrested and jailed. Van Gogh had made a movie entitled Submission together with Somali-born MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali, which was highly critical of the oppression of women in the Islamic world.

Another Islam-criticising film, Fitna by populist MP Geert Wilders caused violent protests in Islamic countries. Mr Wilders, whose party provides key support to the governing rightwing minority coalition, is under permanent police protection.



Anonymous 18 December 2012 - 6:02pm / Oldham

Yeah , Burka girl is so ...
She made fun of us we shall notmake fun of her though

Vince1776 2 February 2012 - 3:09pm / usa

It's doesn't bother me as being offensive as much as it isn't very funny. You have a husky, blond woman, doing a dance like in a disco, and she occasionally pulls the tshiirt up to "do the burqa". Not very artistic or funny.

Magnus A 4 February 2012 - 1:28am

Vince. I agree with taste here, but remember that taste is never relevant to freedom of expression. I avoid to mention poor quality aspects if those who propose to limit freedom use that as an argument. On the other hand, since poor quality is never enough to curb freedom in that way it's an argument.

Anonymous 27 January 2012 - 8:20pm / u.s.a.

The woman is mesmerizing, a godess of radiance and sanguinty

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