Protesters: they were born this way
Photo © 2012 Kyodo/AAP One
Lady Gaga has cancelled her sold-out show in Indonesia after Islamist hard-liners threatened violence, claiming her sexy clothes and provocative dance moves would corrupt the nation's youth.
The controversy was a blow to the predominantly Muslim country's reputation for combining free speech and democracy with a mostly moderate brand of the faith.
The Born This Way Ball concert has been on-again, off-again from the start, but it was final on Sunday, said Minola Sebayang, a lawyer for Big Daddy, promoter of the June 3 show.
"It's unfortunate," he said. "But with threats if the concert goes ahead, Lady Gaga's side is calling it off. This is not only about Lady Gaga's security, but extends to those who will be watching her."
A small extremist fringe in the secular nation of 240 million has become more vocal - and violent - in recent years, attacking Christians, members of other religious minorities and anyone else deemed immoral.
The most notorious group, Islamic Defenders Front, called Lady Gaga a "messenger of the devil" and vowed to turn out at the airport by the thousands if she tried to step off the plane.
Police denied them permits, then, after a public outcry, said they'd reconsider - only if Lady Gaga agreed to tone down her act.
The promise of a full refund was little consolation to fans like Johnny Purba, 25.
"This only shows to the world how weak security forces are in this country, how police are afraid of a bunch of hard-liners.
"Gaga's two-hour show will not hurt Indonesian Muslims. For God's sake, she is not a terrorist!"
About 50 fans, dressed like the pop diva, performed a flash mob dance at a Jakarta mall to some of her biggest hits.
Hard-liners were ecstatic. "This is a victory for Indonesian Muslims," said Salim Alatas, one of the leaders of the Islamic Defenders Front.
"Thanks to God for protecting us from a kind of devil."
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