Filipino actor-politician Tito Sotto is under fire from Muslims in Philippines after he turned up in the traditional Arab men's garment, called thawb, for a Halloween TV show over the weekend.
Sotto and his co-host wore the traditional white, ankle-length robe and the Arab headgear while appearing on the 'Eat Bulaga' TV show on Saturday.
The governor of Philippines' Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) lashed out at the actor for his decision to wear the traditional Muslim clothing for a Halloween event where people generally are dressed in costumes resembling spooky characters.
The governor Mujiv Hataman accused Sotto of "equating the Muslim garb as a costume to be feared, in the way that zombies and ghouls are to be feared", according to local media.
The local Muslim government demanded an apology from the actor as well as the producers of the TV show for what it called the 'mockery' of the image of Muslims.
"What Eat Bulaga did in its Halloween Special was a mockery of and an affront to the image of the Muslim, apparently in the name of entertainment. On behalf of the Filipino Moro people, we demand that producers and hosts of the noontime show issue a public apology," the governor said, according to Phil Star.
— Eat Bulaga (@EatBulaga) October 31, 2015
However, Tito Sotto has reportedly refused to issue an apology and said that the Arab garment was not worn exclusively by Muslims.
"(There's) nothing to apologise for. And remind them, hindi Muslim garb yun, Arab! And there are many Arabs who liked it. Why will we apologise for something they like?" Sotto told the media, according to Manila Bulletin.
"We were wearing an Arab costume. The are Arab Christians if I may remind him. I have been wearing that outfit for many years after a Sheikh from Riyadh gave me one and asked me to wear it," he added.
The issue became a topic of discussion on social media in the country, with many netizens reportedly criticising the actor while others defending his right to wear the costume.