Malaysia’s Islamists Want Avril Lavigne Concert Canceled
First Published: August 18, 2008 8:50 AM EDT Credit: AP
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Malaysia’s Islamic opposition party has urged the government to cancel a concert by Avril Lavigne, saying the Canadian singer’s on-stage moves are “too sexy,” an official said Monday.
Lavigne, a Grammy-nominated rock singer who burst to fame with her 2002 debut album “Let’s Go,” plans to start her monthlong Asia tour with a performance in Kuala Lumpur on Aug. 29.
The youth wing of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party said Lavigne’s concert would promote wrong values ahead of Malaysia’s Aug. 31 independence day.
“It is considered too sexy for us. … It’s not good for viewers in Malaysia,” said Kamarulzaman Mohamed, a party official. “We don’t want our people, our teenagers, influenced by their performance. We want clean artists, artists that are good role models.”
Kamarulzaman said he sent a protest letter to the Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry and the Kuala Lumpur mayor last week, calling for the concert to be canceled.
An official from the Culture Ministry’s department that vets all foreign artists said the government has not given permission for the concert yet. The department is to meet Tuesday to decide on the organizer’s application, which was received last week.
The official declined to be named because she is not authorized to make public statements.
A spokesman for the concert’s organizer, Galaxy Group, denied that Lavigne’s show had any “negative elements.”
The spokesman, who declined to be named citing protocol, said his company was confident of receiving the permit as feedback from authorities so far had been “very positive.”
Malaysia requires all performers to wear clothes without obscene or drug-related images and be covered from chest to knees. They must also refrain from jumping, shouting, hugging and kissing on stage.
Still, members of PAS and other conservative Muslims often protest Western and even Malaysian music shows that they deem to be inappropriate.
Last year, pop singer Gwen Stefani made what she called “a major sacrifice” by donning clothes that revealed little skin at a performance here.
Also last year, Christina Aguilera skipped Malaysia during an Asian tour that included neighboring Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines, while R&B superstar Beyonce scratched a planned concert here, moving it to Indonesia.
A Pussycat Dolls concert in 2006 was fined 10,000 ringgit (US$2,857) after the U.S. girl group was accused of flouting decency regulations.
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