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Malaysia: Muslims can’t watch “immoral” concerts

Categories: East Asia, Malaysia, Arts & Culture, Freedom of Speech, Governance, Law, Music, Religion, Youth

To protect the morals of society, the youth arm of Pan Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS Youth) wants to ban the forthcoming Michael Learns to Rock [1] reunion concert in Malaysia. This is the same group which banned the concerts of music stars [2] Beyonce, Avril Lavigne [3] and Gwen Stefani in Malaysia.

PAS Youth [4] issued this statement in their website, the excerpts of which were translated [5] by myAsylum

This concert is a big insult to Malaysia, and to Muslims that are observing the holy month of Ramadhan.

Firstly, Muslims are facing a month of religious observance, full of dignity and blessings. It should not be contaminated by a concert like this, that brings in a foreign group artiste who definitely has no sensitivity whatsoever towards the local community. Surely, this concert will make the community idle and careless, in fact damage their morals and character.

These types of concerts will not help motivate the people to become good citizens, with high morals and competitiveness, but instead will weaken their morals and mental strength, and at the same time will drag them down to drown in the turbulence of lust.

Jonathan Ong attacks the religious bigotry [6] of PAS Youth

I urge my fellow Malaysians not to attack the religion but the religious bigotry of PAS Youth.

If PAS Youth feels that the concert is not suitable for Muslims, then the most reasonable and practical thing to do is to advise Muslims to simply not attend the event. They should be considerate that there are also other Malaysians who do not observe the Ramadhan and would love to see their favourite band live. Has PAS Youth forgotten that Malaysia is not 100% Muslim?

Niki Cheong admits having “sinned” [7] for watching concerts in the past

Forgive me, for I have sinned.
I have two confessions. The first is worst than the second, in my eyes at least. PAS doesn’t seem to agree.
1. I actually like Michael Learns to Rock. I grew up listening to 25 Minutes, The Actor and Paint My Love. I even have their CDs. I know, I know … judge me now.
2. I’ve actually even gone to their concerts. Twice.
Well, if PAS Youth is right, then my #2 confession means that I have sinned. They have called for a ban of Michael Learns to Rock’s Eternity Tour 2009 in Genting Highlands
Then again, I’m not a Muslim but I am a Malaysian. It would appear that their contention is that the concert, if held, would be a major insult to Malaysia and Muslims observing Ramadhan.

Klews [8] believes the concert is less insulting because it will be staged after fasting hours:

What makes it strange and inadequate was that instead of asking for a postponement of the concert, they are threatening to prevent the whole event by any means necessary.

True, they may stake a claim that it was inappropriate to have such an event during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. But it would do little harm, much less an insult, as the concert would be held after fasting hour

Prissy's Evil Lair disagrees [9] with PAS Youth:

How the hell is MLTR threatening Muslim's dignity!? Wow. DUMB.

Twitter reactions to the proposed concert ban:

vernadium1 [10]: PAS Youth calls for ban on MLTR concert. Thank you for shoving our country back to the dinosaur age. Fucking pathetic.
meeshly [11]: Why #PAS Youth hates #MLTR #2 – they're Danish, there4 they're evil… like butter cookies

Malaysian Muslims can’t also watch the Black Eyed Peas concert because the show is sponsored by an alcohol company. The concert promotion website [12] asks visitors

“Are you a non-Muslim aged 18 years and above?” and if the response is no, access is not allowed.

Wong Chun Wai notes that the decision to ban Muslims from attending concerts is unprecedented in Malaysia [13]

Black Eyed Peas is performing but wait – it's only for non-Muslims and naturally Muslim fans are fuming. The no Muslim decision is reportedly imposed by the Information, Communication and Culture Ministry.

Muslims, too, want to be there to enjoy the concert but that does not mean that they have to drink. They just want to have a good time, that's all. But the corporate world is playing safe now. Such”non-Muslims only” restriction is usually placed at Christian functions and meetings, especially for faith-healing sessions, but never for a concert. It's unprecedented but that's what the authorities want.

Coffee Conversations writes about the state of freedom in Malaysia [14]

Here’s to our forefathers and the freedom fighters. We might be independent, but we are yet to be free.

The simplest form of joy, music is restricted to us. Numerous artistes surely had refused offers to perform in our country in frustration over the silly decency rule. Muslims are banned from attending certain concerts just because the sponsors happened to be in the alcohol industry.

A little mention of concert sends them into a berserk, no matter that the band is harmless Michael Learns to Rock.