03/20/2012, 00.00
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Indonesian Ulema: Lady Gaga is "haram," forbidden, no to concert. Fans in revolt

by Mathias Hariyadi
Radwan Khalil, a member of the MUI said that the singer is a "threat" to morality and the concert is "haram". She is "too sexy" and could lead to carnal desires. Thousands of fans against the words of Muslim leader. Ironic comment by a leader of the liberal movement: it is "forbidden" to attend without a ticket.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - "Pop" music lovers in Indonesia are at war,  following the statement issued today by the Ulema Council (MUI), which has branded the Lady Gaga concert, scheduled in the coming months as "haram" - forbidden - and morally "threatening". The Islamic organization plays a role of "observer" of manners and morals in the archipelago and several times in the past, has intervened in the debate with public stances that have sparked heated debate. Among others, in March 2011 they railed against the flag-raising "because Muhammad never did so", before they had launched anathemas against the popular social network Facebook deemed "amoral" against yoga, smoking and the right to vote, especially for women.

Khalil Radwan, executive member of the MUI said that "no Indonesian Muslims" should attend the concert of the U.S. pop-star, in June in Jakarta, because her gestures and clothing exhibited on the stage are contrary to morality and reprehensible. "My opinion - adds the leader of the Ulema - is based solely on religious tradition. [She] is too sexy on stage, this could induce a carnal desire among people of different sexes." Consequently, Khalil Ridwan continues, we would see a "moral drift of the nation and its people."

The strict clampdown has provoked the reaction of thousands of Indonesian music lovers, who have not hidden their anger and outrage at the words of the Islamic leader. "Music is music," they say in a loud voice, "it has nothing to do with the desires of the flesh." Some used irony, like Ulil Abshar Abdalla, a leader of the Islamic Liberal Network movement, declaring: "as far as I know, it is 'haram' to see the show without a ticket."

The U.S. performance artist Lady Gaga - whose real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta - has sold millions of albums around the world and is scheduled to appear at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in central Jakarta on June 3. All 44 thousand tickets have already been sold and the concert is already declared "sold out". The date in Indonesia is part of a larger tour in Southeast Asia for the next few months. The singer's entourage are aware that, for the exhibition, she will wear a dress "suited" to the host country.


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