The self-appointed culture police are at it again. Indonesia’s hard-line Muslims are promising to block American singer Lady Gaga from taking to the stage during a scheduled June 3 performance in Jakarta. Among their many complaints are that the pop diva is a danger to children.
In threatening to mobilize 30,000 people, the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) also described the hottest artist in contemporary music as vulgar, very dangerous and argued that her sense of dress were threatening to a child’s sense of morality.
About 25,000 concert tickets have already been sold and threats to intercept Lady Gaga at the airport have sparked an angry backlash on social media from her fans, known as Little Monsters.
So far, her tour –the Born This Way Ball – of Asia, Australia and New Zealand has prompted small protests from Christian groups in South Korea and the Philippines, but Lady Gaga has stuck to her mantra and refused to tone down her provocative performances.
A spokesperson for the FPI went so far as to tell reporters: “Lady Gaga insults all religions. Even Christians in Korea opposed her. She is promoting the worship of Satan.”
Unsurprisingly, Lady Gaga hasn’t included Malaysia on her global tour. Over there, Islamic hot heads with grievances over Western art forms have been even more tyrannical in demanding others conform to their sense of piety, with the government often acceding to their whims.
In 2006, a concert by a Norwegian black metal band was banned after officials took a dislike to their slogan “Bringing hell to your doorstep,” which was interpreted as a type of satanic worship. Other acts to feel the branding iron of intimidating Malaysian officials include Madonna, Brittany Spears, The Black Eyed Peas, and Enrique Iglesias.
More than 45 songs have been censored or banned in Malaysia since 2010, among them seven songs from Lady Gaga herself, including her worldwide hit Bad Romance.
As far as moralistic killjoys go, the FPI rank among the best. They’ve also been described by the International Crisis Group as an “urban thug organization,” and according to the U.S. embassy via cables released through WikiLeaks, the FPI receives funding through the local police.
With a population of 240 million spread over 12,000 islands, Indonesia has won widespread praise for its handling of Islamic militancy throughout the War on Terror.
It has also shown a mature reluctance to bow to any of the many extreme demands often made by a firebrand clergy within the FPI, which pretends to speak for all. Gaga’s fans won’t be the only ones hope the Indonesian authorities allow her fans to enjoy what is, after all, just a pop concert.