Beyonce stirs Islamist ire in Malaysia again

Wed Sep 23, 2009 10:18pm EDT
 
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KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters Life!) - Malaysia's opposition Islamist party wants U.S. pop star Beyonce to cancel a planned concert in this Southeast Asian country, two years after it prevented the singer from performing, citing moral issues.

Foreign acts often draw protests by the Pan Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), whose youth wing succeeded in forcing Beyonce to cancel a 2007 concert and sought last year to prevent Canadian singer Avril Lavigne from performing in this mainly Muslim country of 27 million people.

"We are against western entertainment that promotes hedonism. We do not want our youth to be misled," said Ahmad Sabki, vice-president of PAS Youth, was quoted as saying in Thursday's New Straits Times newspaper.

Malaysia's image as a moderate Muslim country has been hit by the recent sentencing to caning of a woman caught drinking beer.

Beyonce is due to perform in Malaysia on October 25 for the first time, if she is allowed, as part of a global tour, the newspaper said.

Earlier this month, Malaysia initially banned Muslims from attending a concert by U.S. hip-hop band The Black Eyed Peas, which was sponsored by Guinness, one of the brands owned by the world's biggest spirits group Diageo.

The ban was reversed, but a senior official said it was up to the individual's "better judgment" to attend the event.

PAS conservatism on cultural issues has caused problems for the three-member opposition alliance of which it is a part, said Zaid Ibrahim, a former law minister who is now a senior opposition politician.

"It is as if for PAS Youth, the effort to fight corruption, abuse of power and inciting racism is less important compared to the efforts to make sure the young who are just learning to love and wish to be entertained freely are obstructed from enjoying a little freedom," Zaid wrote on his website (http://my zaidibrahim.wordpress.com/).

(Reporting by David Chance; Editing by Miral Fahmy)

 
<p>Beyonce performs "Single Ladies" at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards in New York in this September 13, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn</p>