Lady Gaga cancels Indonesian show over security

 

JAKARTA, Indonesia- Lady Gaga has canceled her sold-out show in Indonesia over security concerns after Muslim hard-liners threatened violence if the pop diva went ahead with her “Born This Way Ball,” promoters said Sunday.

The Islamic Defenders Front said Lady Gaga’s sexy clothes and provocative dance moves would corrupt youth in the world’s most populous Muslim country.

The group said supporters had bought tickets to the concert and planned to enter and force it to be stopped. It also threatened that thousands of protesters would confront the singer on her way from the airport.

Police had said they would only issue the required permits for the concert if Lady Gaga agreed to tone things down. Instead, she pulled the plug on the show, which had sold out with more than 50,000 tickets.

 “With threats if the concert goes ahead, Lady Gaga’s side is calling off the concert,” Minola Sebayang, alawyer for concert promoter Big Daddy, told reporters Sunday.

“This is not only about Lady Gaga’s security, but extends to those who will be watching her.”

Indonesia, a secular nation of 240 million people, is often held up by the U.S. and others in the West as example of how Islam and democracy can coexist.

Ninety percent of the population is Muslim, but most practice a moderate, tolerant form of the faith.

A small, extremist fringe, has gotten more vocal — and violent — in recent years, however, sometimes attacking Christians and members of other religious minorities with clubs and machetes.

They also targeted transvestites, atheists and others considered “blasphemous.”

Jakarta was supposed to be the biggest stop on Lady Gaga’s Asian tour, with 52,000 tickets scooped up in just a few days.

Fans will be fully refunded, said Michael Rusli, head of Big Daddy.

The Islamic Defenders Front, or the FPI, which threatened to meet Lady Gaga with tens of thousands of angry supporters if she dared step off the plane in the capital of Jakarta, celebrated news of her cancellation.

“This is a victory for Indonesian Muslims,” said Salim Alatas, one of the leaders of the hard-line group. “Thanks to God for protecting us from a kind of devil.”

A spokesman for the group, Murhali Barda, said they have purchased 150 tickets to the concert and planned to enter and stop it if it went ahead.

Barda’s Facebook account featured a picture of an FPI member, wearing a turban and sunglasses to conceal his face, holding an original ticket with the price around US$50.

The photo’s caption said, “We have gotten Lady Gaga tickets, not to watch but for us to enter.”

He wrote, “Our target is to stop the concert. We would force them off the stage but not harm the audience.” He did not elaborate further.

Music lovers in Jakarta expressed outrage that the threats were able to force the show’s cancellation. Lady Gaga fan Johnny Purba, 25, called it an embarrassment to Indonesia.

“This only shows to the world how weak security forces are in this country, how police are afraid of a bunch of hard-liners,” Purba said.

“Gaga’s two-hour show will not hurt Indonesian Muslims. For God’s sake, she is not a terrorist!”

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