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M.I.A criticises political conversation in America

‘Is Beyoncé​ or Kendrick Lamar going to say Muslim Lives Matter? ...That's a more interesting question’

M.I.A has never been one to shy away from a contentious global issue. The “Borders” rapper, who fled from war-torn Sri Lanka to the UK when she was a child, has been openly critical about the West’s treatment of refugees. She even released her own politically-charged music video on the topic earlier this year

Now, in a new interview with ES Magazine, M.I.A – real name Mathangi ‘Maya’ Arulpragasam – has spoken out on the subject once again. Referencing the growing profile of America’s Black Lives Matter campaign, the rapper slammed the country for ignoring other important issues; using the lives of Muslim refugees as an example.

“It's interesting that in America the problem you're allowed to talk about is Black Lives Matter,” she revealed. “It's not a new thing to me – it's what Lauryn Hill was saying in the 1990s, or Public Enemy in the 1980s. Is Beyoncé or Kendrick Lamar going to say Muslim Lives Matter? Or Syrian Lives Matter? Or this kid in Pakistan matters? That's a more interesting question.”

She continued: “You cannot ask it on a song that's on Apple, you cannot ask it on an American TV programme, you cannot create a tag on Twitter, Michelle Obama isn't going to hump you back.”

After receiving criticism for the comments – which many took as a direct insult to Black Lives Matter campaigners – M.I.A clarified her comments on Twitter. “I'm not Muslim. My criticism wasn't about Beyoncé,” she wrote today. “My question was, on American platforms what do they allow you to stand up for in 2016”.

See all the tweets below:

The full interview can be seen in ES Magazine, which is available from today (Thursday 21).