R&B star Erykah Badu has had a future concert banned by the Malaysian government. The gig was called off because the singer recently had her photograph taken with the Arabic word for ‘Allah’ written on her right shoulder. This act alone, argued many Malaysian Muslims, meant Badu was a poor role model for youngsters in the country.
The 41-year-old Badu was penciled in to perform on Wednesday evening in Kuala Lumpur, but a network of Muslim groups claimed Badu should not be allowed on stage. A government committee containing senior police figures and Islamic policy officials quickly assembled and decided to forbid Badu’s show.
In the words of Information Minister Rais Yatim, Badu’s body art – while not permanent – was “an insult to Islam and a very serious offense.”
A statement released by the Malaysian government said the incriminating snap of Badu had “triggered public criticism that could jeopardize national security and cause a negative impact to the government’s image.”
While Badu is welcome to stay in the country as a tourist, she won’t be allowed to perform, according to an Information Ministry official. Razman Razali, managing director of the show’s Malaysian organizer, Pineapple Concerts, admitted to Associated Press that Badu is “worried and dismayed,” but hopeful that the ban could yet be overturned.
More and more western performers have been allowed to perform in Malaysia in the past few years. However, stars such as Gwen Stefani and Avril Lavigne have previously been reminded to dress modestly for their performance.
Do you feel the banning of Badu is justified or not? Sound off in the comments.