Let me start this off by saying that, like most things M.I.A. does, her claim that the middle finger she extended to the cameras during the Super Bowl halftime show is a religious symbol is clearly meant to ruffle someone's feathers (specifically, the NFL's lawyers, who are currently suing the Matangi singer). Still, it doesn't make this interview excerpt any less awesome.
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So you were not giving America the middle finger? This was the Matangi symbol?
M.I.A.: Yes. Do you like that? (Laughing) It's good, isn't it?
Something tells me that there might have been another meaning in that.
M.I.A.: It's cultural! In my country, it's godly. OK?
Is the NFL believing that? I know they're suing you.
M.I.A.: Of course the NFL is not believing that, because the NFL does not believe in any other culture outside of the NFL. But it's true; you can Wikipedia it. You can just say "Matangi" and "mudra," and you'll see it's the middle finger.
Of course, the "Bad Girls" singer isn't lying. The Matangi mudra is a specific hand formation for when you are meditating about inner transformation and it is very much a middle finger. However, M.I.A. was about as far from meditating as she could have been, performing during the halftime show of one of the biggest sporting events in the world.
That doesn't mean that the case against M.I.A. isn't absolutely ridiculous, but still. I doubt she honestly expects this defense to work.