Hardliners rain on Gaga parade
A concert by US pop star Lady Gaga in Indonesia has been cancelled after protests by hardline Islamic groups, the show's promoters announced yesterday.
About 50000 tickets had been sold for the Jakarta concert at the Bung Karno stadium. The promoter said tickets would be refunded.
Indonesian police had earlier this month refused to issue a permit for the concert, citing objections from Muslim groups who deemed Gaga's stage show "pornographic" and incompatible with local culture.
Meanwhile, the Islamic Defenders' Front (FPI), a small group known for sometimes violent protests, had threatened to mobilise outside the venue.
"We would like to announce regretfully that Lady Gaga's concert for June 3 cannot be held," Minola Sebayang, spokesman for concert promoter Big Daddy Entertainment, said.
"Lady Gaga is very concerned and respects the people of Indonesia, so she doesn't want anyone to get hurt or fall victim in her show," he said.
FPI spokesman Munarman welcomed the news of the cancellation.
"It's a victory from Allah," Munarman said. "We reject the kind of trash culture and the commercialisation of women's bodies promoted by Lady Gaga."
Gaga, whose real name is Stefani Germanotta, is known for her eccentric and risque outfits in videos and on stage.
About 88% of Indonesia's 238-million people adhere to the Islamic faith, making it the world's largest Muslim-majority country.
Even though most Indonesian Muslims are moderate, small but vocal hardline groups have been increasingly bold in pushing their agenda in recent years.
Some Indonesians went to the internet to express disappointment at the cancellation.
"I'm not disappointed that Lady Gaga cancelled her concert. I'm sorry because the state and some in society have succumbed to intimidation," Arif Zulkifli posted on Twitter.
The announcement came despite Indonesial Security Minister Djoko Suyanto calling for the concert to go ahead.