Despite Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak promoting the country as a symbol of moderation and a cultural melting pot, an Islamic group in the country has called for a planned Elton John concert to be banned over the iconic singer’s sexuality.John, who is widely popular in Malaysia, is scheduled to perform on Thursday at a resort outside the capital Kuala Lumpur.But the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) is lashing out and saying it is “immoral” for the country to host an openly gay performer in the country.“This concert must be cancelled. Artists who are involved in gay and lesbian activities must not be allowed to perform in Malaysia as they will promote the wrong values,” Nasrudin Hassan Tantawi, chief of the youth wing, was quoted as saying by local media.The British start is currently on his Asian leg of a worldwide tour, and performed in Malaysia last November to a sell-out crowd despite a similar protest from the Islamic party.Nasrudin said PAS did not plan any street protests to oppose the concert, but “will instead demand that authorities cancel the immoral performance to protect our society from social degradation.”The protest has angered both the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community as well as music lovers alike in Malaysia, in a rare display of unity between the two groups.Lesbian activist Mona told Bikyamasr.com on Tuesday that “this is simply ridiculous. It is like how Indonesia forced out Lady Gaga recently because they were concerned over what she wore on stage. This should be an issue for parents and not a morality police that doesn’t exist in Malaysia,” alluding to Indonesian Islamists galvanizing the country to force a ban of a sold-out Jakarta concert by the American female star.And it is not only the LGBT community who is frustrated. Ahmad Jabar Ahmad, a 20-year-old university student, told Bikyamasr.com that while he does not believe gay people should exist, “Elton John is Elton John and we might not like his choice of lifestyle, he should not be barred from performing in Malaysia. We all love him.”John has not shied away from controversy during his Asia tour, as on Monday in China, he dedicated his concert to Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei.Many in Malaysia fear the rise of conservatism and radical Islam, but hope the government and concert organizers do not give in to the “handful of crazies,” as Mona put it, and the concert will go off as planned.“I think this kind of thing is fine, people should protest if they want, but hopefully it does not go beyond that because we don’t want to get into the business of cancelling icons of the world because they are gay,” she added.
Posted by Women Against Shariah on Tuesday, November 27, 2012