Bali Times Editorial
Indonesia sent another signal to the world on Tuesday that it is not entirely comfortable with the modern, democratic age when its police force capitulated to Islamic hardliners and banned one of the world’s most popular singers from performing here.
This deplorable development does not sit well with the majority in this country, of whatever creed, and indeed many took to social networks to vent their anger at the police for caving into the unrealistic demands of the perennially frenzied Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), a grouping of intolerant Muslims best known for thrashing bars it thinks are “immoral.”
If anyone is depraved, it is the FPI, whose own leader was jailed for an attack on a religious-freedom rally.
Indonesia is making extraordinary strides in developing itself into a modern land, just 14 short years since the end of the Suharto dictatorship. Everywhere, people are prospering as the economy roars ahead and foreign investment pours in at record levels. It is fatally shameful that the authorities are willing to risk all this with primitive views about an American entertainer being “satanic” and a “risk” to the country.
The people will make up their own mind, and indeed Lady Gaga is overwhelmingly popular among the youth of Indonesia. That they are denied a chance to see their idol in their own land because a handful of hardliners nonsensically object and yet again manage to pressure the police is illogical.
No one needs reminding that Bali and the wider Indonesia have been subject to the satanic workings of militants this past decade, terrorists who have taken hundreds of lives, including scores of foreigners. Giving credence to people who are wildly intolerant and favour violence to get their way only serves to embolden them onto further self-serving acts.
The authorities would do well to heed the real threat among us. It is not one in a dress.