Erykah Badu concert cancelled after Allah tattoo controversy
REUTERS, Lucas Jackson
Ministry of Information: Erykah Badu concert cancelled for 'offending religious sensitivities'
KUALA LUMPUR - Minister of Information Datuk Seri Utama Rais Yatim announced today that R&B star Erykah Badu's scheduled performance tomorrow night has been cancelled.
In a tweet posted from his account (@dsuraisyatim) at 2.06PM today, Rais said in Malay the performer's concert was canceled for 'touching on religious sensitivities' and failing to meet 'Malaysian cultural values' as well as guidelines set by PUSPAL, the central agency for application for filming and performance by foreign artistes.
This follows the announcement that three top editors from local English daily The Star were called up by the Home Ministry over their publication of a photograph of the American singer yesterday.
The Star published a photograph of Badu with two tattoos with the Arabic word for 'Allah', or God, in a profile piece in their Star2 entertainment section yesterday. Malay groups opposed allowing the R&B singer to perform following publication of the photograph.
Several Muslim groups in Malaysia consider the word 'Allah' sacred and have protested the use of the word by non-Muslims in the past. Tattooing is similarly taboo.
In response to the publication of the photo, the Home Ministry called up the managing editor, chief news editor and senior editor of the English newspaper to explain why they published the picture. A show-cause letter was to be issued as well, demanding a written explanation in seven days.
The Star published an apology saying, "A photograph of American singer Erykah Badu with tattoos of various symbols, including the Arabic word for Allah, was inadvertently published in Star2 today. We sincerely apologise to Muslim readers for this oversight."
Badu's concert was scheduled for tomorrow night at KLCC Plenary Hall. Users on social networking site Twitter reported that she was already in Kuala Lumpur and had been seen in a major shopping center in the city.
Erykah Badu: "I understand"
UPDATE 29/2/2012 5:43PM: At a press conference held this afternoon at Plenary Hall KLCC, organizers Pineapple Concerts confirmed that the concert was cancelled after PUSPAL revoked their license, despite working "working up to the 11th hour to rectify the issues."
Badu said that she hoped to meet the minister to hear out his concerns and misgivings regarding the matter, defending Pineapple Concerts for their respectful conduct throughout the controversy.
Pineapple Concerts marketing director Razman Razali and Badu explained that the photograph used by The Star had not originated from the media kit provided by the organizers. Referring to the controversy, Razman said, "The Star should have known better, to know what to run."
Badu also pointed out that she had no tattoos and the 'Allah tattoo' at the center of the controversy was body art from a photoshoot referencing "The Painted Lady", a character from the 1973 surrealist film The Holy Mountain by Chilean-French filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky. In the film, "The Painted Lady" was a character who had various names of God etched on her skin.
When asked, the American singer said that she knew the meaning of the symbol, and that her photo had included the symbol for other names of God, including Jehovah and Yahweh. She said the interpretation of the Jodorowsky imagery was, "We are all one."
Minister of Information Datuk Seri Utama Rais Yatim tweeted this evening that the Cabinet agreed with PUSPAL's move to cancel the concert. In an earlier tweet, he reiterated that the cancellation was justified.
I am not Muslim, I am of the non-muslim Malaysian minority. I think that what the singer did was not with an intent to insult the religious/cultural sensitivities of Malaysians.
However there is no wrong in the local muslims taking offence at the singer's tattoos.
Having said that, I am of the opinion that the government shouldn't have just cancelled the show. The singer should have been advised of the mistake. Since the images are not recent, the Malaysian government should have rejected the concert upon application by the organizers. Why did they make this decision at the very last minute? Also, I understand that a certain NGO was set to receive some charity benefit on first day sales on this event. Now that opportunity is gone. I think there is more to this than meets they eye.
Please take note that this very minister was in office when certain quarters dragged a cow's head all across the main gates of the country's capital administration building. Not a peep came out of this minister.
So in my honest opinion, standing up for one's cultural beliefs is acceptable. However the government need to approach it in a more intelligent manner.
Haha..BohemianChick...welcome to our 21st country... This is why we don't get any international superstar to perform in this country.
Save your money and spend it at oversea for concert. Here is hopeless....
Malaysia international well known ,, Corruption OK (Halal ) $$$$$$$$$$$$$
Anything or something or sometime or somehow or somewhat or somewhere or someone have to do with islam is Haram ( Ban )
Do not perform in this country unless you can bring along 'rare earth' here...
No to Lynas. Save Malaysia.
Another good show to divert the focus of malaysian on the rare earth issue, this is what our leaders and politician are doing always, they are free all the time to handle something like this, tax payers maney were spend for these "tattoo spotter" politician, what a shame, for me i don't even care, come on malaysian, be matured, why do we care, the concert is on or off, it's not gonna be a big deal, it's just a silly show. who cares? like you are the biggest fan of badu? well thats ridiculous. nobody is right or wrong, they do something that insult the muslim, then the muslim stop them, as easy as that. no issue. i'm not with the government, but it's just a show a funny show for me.
1. The word "Allah" is arabic name for God (the Almighty)
2. The word "Allah" predates Islam. It has been in use before islam came into existence
3. The word "Allah" is collectively used by muslims, Bahá'ís, Arabic-speaking Christians, Mizrahi Jews and Sikhs to address God.
4. In pre-Islamic Arabia, Allah was used by Meccans as a reference to the creator-god, possibly the supreme deity
5. Allah is merciful and forgiving
2ndcitizen I agree with mat noh. If u r really up to it, why dont we meet up so that i can settle this my way. Be ready not to work for the next few weeks though. U wanna resort to racial critism right? To hell with u...So are u up for it? Talking rubbish on the web are for cowards like u.
Allah is the name given to God by the primitive Arabs long before Islam.
But now Muslims claim possession to the word , Allah.
Can you claim such possession?
Does God accept this name?
God may not accept the name. Is God angry???
Muslim try to create conflict over anything to show its power.
Is it a political ploy to attract "Muslim voters"
God don't belong to any religion.
If God belongs to a religion, then God is NOT Almighty.
Lao tse said, "A name that can be named is NOT the real name."
With a news like this,
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