British-Muslims’ ‘Happy’ video sparks backlash

The British-Muslim version is one of hundreds of remake videos, showing people singing and dancing to the song

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A British-Muslim version of Pharell Williams’ popular song “Happy” has been questioned by some Muslim commentators because of the public singing and dancing seen in the video.

The video was uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday, and has received more than 527,000 views. The version is one of hundreds of remake videos, showing people from all over the globe, including Arab countries, singing and dancing to the song.

“It reinforces dominant, secular liberal notions of normalcy and happiness,” a media representative of Australia’s Hizb ut-Tahrir a political party was quoted on BBC radio as saying.

“In between the musical notes and wacky moves, we’ve been told that being happy is about singing, dancing, being joyous [and] carefree. Really? Is happiness about these frivolities?” he added.

For Imam Abdullah Hassan, a guest on BBC radio this week, it was the stereotyping that concerned him and his fellow scholars. “What is worrying for me and many other Muslims and imams is that some of the comments made by some people, is that we are trying to compartmentalize and brand Muslims from this video,” he said.

A “sheikh” featured in the video, who does not sing or dance but only lifts a piece of cardboard which says “I’m happy,” has distanced himself from the video, saying that he had no idea his participation would look like this after the final edit, BBC Radio reported.

However, according to The Honesty Policy, the group which produced the video, such reports were “not true.”

“It’s part of something that we as Muslims could find ourselves relating to: happiness. We, too, are happy people, and we promote a message of happiness,” producers of the video told The Independent.

Social media users took to the Internet to share their thoughts.

One YouTube user commented saying: “Umm I don't get how anyone can Islamically justify this.”

Another said: “hahah some dudes all what they saw in this video is the women dance, if only you could focus more on the context though, I don’t think they were dancing salsa or Tango or even like doing hip hop moves so … and enjoy it :)”

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