Justin Bieber. Islam. Deep breath. Despite the recent social media firestorm, then echoed by most of the media, the 19-year-old somehow managed to make it to the other side of the Anne Frank furor.
Helped in no small part by the unimpeachable comments of the Anne Frank House press office, the Anti-Defamation League’s Abraham Foxman — and, latterly — Frank’s stepsister Eva Schloss, a sort of hung jury emerged from the flap over whether Bieber’s ‘belieber’ note truly merited a public flogging.
Enter stage left, lslam.
According to Dagen, a Norwegian news website, a national TV comedy show, Anne-Kat , convinced a group of female Bieber fans to ‘Islam-Up’ for a chance to win tickets to see the pop star — presumably at his upcoming concert in Dubai.
So far, so unpolitically correct, but let’s press on. The teenage beliebers were asked to remove their make-up, put on hijabs — and, then — recite an extract of Arabic text that may or may not be a twist on an actual Islamic belief.
The eager girls reportedly recited: “Justin Bieber is unclean and probably gay.”
The idea for the Islam pitch belongs to Hærland, Anne-Kat’s host, who admits:
“We wanted to find out how far Norwegian ‘beliebers’ are willing to go for tickets to one of Bieber’s concerts.”
Behold, the answer to that question below.
The show aired on Tuesday on TV Norge and has since been strongly criticized by Halyor Northug, Bishop of the Norwegian Lutheran Church, who raged that the episode, “testifies to Hærland’s lack of understanding of how much faith means to a lot of people.
Northug added, “this is an example of an idea where irony and lack of respect turns into something tragic.”
Defense of the beliebers’ humiliation came from the show’s press officer Jamie Brown-Pedersen, who insisted, “humor often must challenge not only Islam, but also Christianity … philosophy, politics, and economics.”
He added: “You can look at it [the TV episode] as much an an irony [on] the madness around the phenomenon of ‘Jostein Bever’ as I call him.”
The channel’s head of communication, Svein Tore Bergestuen, funnily enough, distanced himself from the episode while backing the comedy segment.
“The crew have the freedom to create a funny TV show. It is not up to us to question their judgment about what is funny and what is not,” he said.
Tonight, the pop prince plays the third and last of his Norway concerts at Oslo’s Telenor Arena.
Fan worship of the Canadian teen in the country is so high that five Norwegian schools recently rejigged exam dates that coincided with the singer’s concerts for fear students would truant.
Likewise, when Bieber played at free concert there last year, hoards of teenage girls stormed the streets, later pursuing the heartthrob in a hormonal armada.
Next stop for the Believe tour, Denmark.