Lady Gaga, Threatened by Islamic Hardliners, Says Will Perform Jakarta Show ‘Alone’
Lady Gaga broke her silence about a jeopardised concert in Jakarta, saying on Twitter that she was facing censorship from Indonesian authorities and threats of violence from Islamic hardliners.
Indonesian police have said they would not issue a permit for the June 3 show after objections from Islamic groups, but the promoters say they are still fighting for a way to stage the event.
“The Jakarta situation is 2-fold: Indonesian authorities demand I censor the show & religious extremist separately, are threatening violence,” Lady Gaga tweeted on her official @ladygaga account on Tuesday.
“If the show does go on as scheduled, I will perform the BTWBall alone,” she said, referring to her Born This Way Ball show for which more than 50,000 tickets have been sold.
The Jakarta situation is 2-fold: Indonesian authorities demand I censor the show & religious extremist separately, are threatening violence
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) May 22, 2012
It was not clear what the US pop diva meant by saying she would perform solo.
Indonesian police said last week they would not issue a permit for the concert after receiving objections to the provocative performer’s risque shows from Islamic groups, including the country’s top Islamic body the National Ulema Council (MUI).
Lawyers representing production company Big Daddy said they met with Jakarta police on Tuesday to discuss conditions necessary for the show to go ahead.
“The deadline they gave was seven days before the show. We are working hard to fulfil all the requirements, which are mostly administrative. We have covered almost all the conditions,” lawyer Minola Sebayang said.
But Jakarta police spokesman Rikwanto said on Tuesday that besides securing permits from the Tourism Ministry and the concert venue owner, promoters must “ensure she is dressed appropriately and does not violate cultural norms in this country.”
In the past, pop stars including Beyonce and the Pussycat Dolls have been allowed to perform in the country on condition they wore more conservative dress than usual.
But the MUI said it objected to the concert not only because of her provocative dresses, but also the “blasphemous” song lyrics.
“Lady Gaga is considered an icon for liberal culture and Indonesia’s freedom is not without limits. There are restrictions related to norms, morals and religion,” MUI official Asrorun Niam said.
Lady Gaga also faced opposition from the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), which said it would create havoc if she were allowed to perform in Indonesia, calling her the “devil’s messenger” who wears only a “bra and panties” on stage.
Ninety percent of Indonesia’s 240 million identify themselves as Muslims, giving it the world’s largest Islamic population, but the vast majority practise a moderate form of the religion.
Lady Gaga’s world tour has been dogged by controversy elsewhere in Asia.
Her performance in the Philippine capital Manila on Monday went without a glitch despite opposition from conservative Christians in the Catholic-majority nation.
She has been allowed to hold a second concert Tuesday after state censors ruled her “provocative” act was within legal bounds.
The Korean Association of Church Communication vowed in March to take “concerted action to stop young people from being infected with homosexuality and pornography” during the star’s concert in Seoul.