Jakarta: The Muslim hardliners in Indonesia forced the pop singing icon and one of the most popular singers ever in the history of pop music, Lady Gaga, to announce the cancellation of her concert in the country.
Lady Gaga was scheduled to perform in a concert in Indonesia but an Islamic group of the country, Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), had threatened to “burn the stage” if she brought her trademark leotards, racy choreography and support for gay rights to Indonesia.
The Islamists labeled her a devil and a Kafir (infidel) and said that they will not tolerate her performing in an Islamic state. They threatened that if Lady Gaga performs, 30,000 activists would be mobilized to create chaos across the country.
According to the analysts, the power of Islamic groups in Indonesia is increasing which is apparent by the threats that forced Lady Gaga to cancel her concert.
Indonesia hosts the world’s largest Muslim population but officially it is a secular state. Western countries normally consider Indonesia as a symbol of moderate Islam. The US President Obama also acknowledged the country as a model for the Muslim world during his visit to Indonesia in 2010.
The Government of Indonesia is apparently not willing to trickle down the rising influence of Islamists in the country as there has been a series of attacks on Christians, Muslim minorities and the enemies of Islam.
Sidney Jones, an analyst at International Crisis Group, commented on the situation in Indonesia that the Islamic groups like FPI have gained power in the country and they are striving hard to get Islamic laws accepted by the mainstream backed by a series of successful campaigns.
She stated, “What’s clear is that there wouldn’t have been a thought of cancelling the concert if these groups hadn’t mobilized.”
“It shows the power they have to affect the statements and policy of police,” she said while adding, “Incident after incident, they organize a protest and see that pulling a group of people together for the television cameras and pressing a particular agenda has worked.”
The Program Manager at the Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace, Ismail Hasani, said that the Islamists in Indonesia are enjoying immunity as the authorities have very lose control on them.
He commented, “The police and courts have proved they cannot handle these issues fairly. They’re often worried of a violent backlash if they punish hardliners.”
“Hardliners often foster close relationships with local governments, and some police even use them to help enforce the law through violent means,” he added.
Hasani mentioned the main problem as “not really related to the law or religion, but political power.”
The Indonesian police did not allow Lady Gaga to perform in the capital city, Jakarta, as they were feeling heat of the pressure by the FPI and other similar groups that exerted pressure on the government by threats of chaos.
According to reports, Police take help from the FPI activists when they raid on bars and brothels especially during the Holy Muslim month of Ramadan. FPI performs its role as an enforcer of morals and Islamic law.
The FPI Jakarta Chairman, Habib Salim Alatas, said that their relationship with police is like a marriage.
“When we want to raid places of sin and cults, the police side with us to stop them,” he said.