There’s a fresh call to boycott Bollywood singer Sonu Nigam, who is currently living in Dubai during the coronavirus pandemic, after his comments over the Muslim call to prayer made three years ago, resurfaced online.
The singer made those comments in 2017 while living in India, where he spoke about “forced religion” and the noise emerging from loudspeakers during the call to prayer, which disturbed his “morning sleep”.
At the time, those comments were perceived as Islamophobic by many on social media and had raised a Twitter storm.
Over the last few days, those comments have resurfaced on social media, prompting a cross section of Twitter users from this region to tag Dubai Police, asking for action to be taken against this singer since he’s now temporarily stranded in the UAE during the ongoing national sterlisation drive.
Nigam’s son studies in the UAE, prompting the singer to stay back during the coronavirus pandemic as he did not want to endanger his aged father in India.
Enraged Twitter users re-posted screengrabs of his controversial tweets from 2017 that led Nigam to quit Twitter at the time.
In April 2017, Nigam posted a series of tweets to his 5.92 million Twitter followers, about how the morning prayers from mosques in India had disturbed his sleep. He also commented that the noise from loudspeakers emerging from temples and gurudwaras — place of worship for Hindus and Sikhs –— were also problematic and added to the “noise pollution”.
The ‘Kal Ho Na Ho’ singer’s comments triggered a swift backlash at the time. In an earlier interview with Gulf News, Nigam discussed his decision to quit the micro-blogging site after the 2017 row.
“I quit Twitter because it became a nuisance more than any assistance. Anybody has the right to say anything to anyone. For instance, I am talking to you now on the phone, but if I start abusing you I can be punished for it. You will write about me being bad-mouthed and question what my parents taught me… I will pay for it. But how do these guys go scot free?” asked Nigam during that interview.
He used the example of how he had spotted Twitter users directing expletives at Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan on his Twitter feed.
Nigam added that the lack of filter on that social media platform prompted him to quit Twitter at the time.
Gulf News has now sought a comment from Nigam over the latest controversy, but the singer is yet to respond.
As the tweets emerge on social media again, Twitter user Kirti tweeted: “I heard that Indian Singer the coward #SonuNigam has deactivated his @Twitter account after twitter storm against #Islamophobia by Arabian Officials...”
Another user Mohammad Azhar tweeted at authorities in Dubai to take action against the singer.
While Nigam — who has performed in Dubai more than a dozen times over the years — was blasted for his remarks back in 2017, the renewed call for boycott brings the issue back in focus.
Meanwhile, Nigam has been performing virtual concerts from Dubai to bring cheer to his fans during the global pandemic.