05/15/2012, 00.00
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Lady Gaga concert cancelled, dangerous for Indonesian culture

by Mathias Hariyadi
Under pressure from Islamic parties, the police in Jakarta called the singer’s show incompatible with the moral values of the country. Pop concerts at risk in Indonesia. Moderate leaders fear a radical turn in the country.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Indonesian authorities have cancelled the concert of popular American singer Lady Gaga, scheduled for next June 3, because it goes against Indonesian law. The decision was announced today by the police in Jakarta who judged the show "to be incompatible with the culture and moral values of the country."

The cancellation of the concert has sparked much debate within Indonesian society and has also involved members of parliament. For months, the Ulema Council (MUI) and Islamist organizations have sought a ban on the artist's concert (pictured), who is very popular among young Indonesians. According to Islamic radicals Lady Gaga is an "admirer of Lucifer" and her sexy performances are dangerous for the people of Indonesia, especially the male audience.

Gamawan Franzi, the interior minister, responded to the criticism of fans of Lady Gaga, stressing that "the country must defend its national interests. Police in Jakarta have acted in the interests of the state, protecting them from potential dangers."

For the leaders of the moderate parties this indicates a radical turn in the country. In fact, the cancellation of the singer's concert is a serious precedent. Benny K Harman, MP and activist of the Legal Aid Foundation (Ylbhi) declares that "freedom of expression has been violated" and accused the police of promoting the ideas of the Islamists, who represent the majority of the population.

With the climate of moral austerity promoted by Islamic extremists performances by Indonesian artists of "dang dut", will also soon become illegal. The dang dut is a traditional Indonesian musical genre, which over the years has taken on pop and dance music connotations borrowed from the West (video), including the use of short skirts and skimpy clothes by the singers.

In recent years, the Indonesian authorities have repeatedly succumbed to pressure from the MUI, which plays a role of "observer" of manners and morals in the archipelago. In Aceh region where the radical Islamic rule, women can not wear tight jeans or skirts. In March 2011, the MUI lashed out at the flag-raising "because Muhammad never did it", and previously even launched anathemas against the popular social network Facebook as "amoral", against yoga, smoking and the right to vote, for women in particular.


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