Malaysian Islamic party urges Elton John show ban

Published Nov 27, 2012 07:49am

This picture taken on November 25, 2012 shows pop-rock balladeer Elton John performing at his concert in Wukesong Stadium in Beijing. Elton dedicated his Beijing show to Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei - a controversial move the artist said on November 26 was unlikely to make the nation's cultural minders happy. — AFP Photo

KUALA LUMPUR: An Islamic political party on Tuesday urged the government of predominantly Muslim Malaysia to ban a concert by Elton John, saying the openly gay British pop icon promotes “immoral” values.

John, who is popular in Malaysia, is scheduled to perform on Thursday at a resort outside the capital Kuala Lumpur.

“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 of the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), told AFP.

The legendary singer-songwriter, who is on the Asian leg of a worldwide tour, performed in Malaysia last November to a sell-out crowd despite a similar protest from the Islamic party.

The 65-year-old singer was married to his Canadian partner David Furnish, 49, in a civil ceremony in England in 2005. On Christmas Day 2010 they became parents to a child conceived using a donor egg and born to a surrogate mother.

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”.

On Monday, John courted controversy during a performance in China by dedicating his Beijing show to Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei. PAS often protests concerts by Western acts, saying they promote promiscuity and corrupt the minds of youngsters.

The party is a key member of an opposition alliance led by Anwar Ibrahim that hopes to unseat Malaysia's long-ruling coalition in elections that must be called by mid-2013.

Homosexuality has long been taboo in Malaysia, where 60 per cent of the population is Muslim and sodomy is a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

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