Lawmaker Brushes Off MUI’s Stance on Lady Gaga Concert
Markus Junianto Sihaloho
House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Pramono Anung says there is no obligation for anyone to obey a top-ranking member of Indonesia’s highest Islamic authority who has urged Muslims not to attend Lady Gaga’s upcoming concert in Jakarta.
On Sunday, Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI) chairman Cholil Ridwan urged Lady Gaga fans to return their tickets for the June 3 concert at Gelora Bung Karno and ask for a refund, claiming the concert was “intended to destroy the nation’s morality.”
However, Cholil claimed that he had never watched the singer perform and had only heard of her “reputation” second-hand.
“The remarks are just from one MUI official, so let’s consider it as part of democracy. It is up to the people if they want to attend [the concert], and if people who are influenced by [the remarks] choose not to go, so be it,” Pramono said.
The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician said authorities should not put restrictions on entertainment shows, but he added that conservatives here and in America also had the right to criticize the singer’s controversial shows.
“I am not a Lady Gaga fan, but my daughter is one,” Pramono said. “My daughter has been going to Al-Azhar [Islamic school] and she knows her religion. I’m sure she will watch the show with discretion; she’s going just to enjoy herself.”
More than 25,000 tickets to the Jakarta leg of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Ball tour were sold in less than two hours on March 10, the first day that the tickets were available for purchase.
Another MUI chairman, Slamet Effendi Yusuf, said Cholil’s words were only his personal opinion. The organization has not issued a haram fatwa, a move that would require all MUI chairmen to reach a consensus.
Personally, Slamet said, he had no problem with young Muslims seeing Lady Gaga’s concert.
“I am sure they know what is good and bad,” he said. “However, I hope Lady Gaga can also wear a proper [dress] in her show.”
A Lady Gaga fan, Hydrian Prillaza, 29, laughed off the suggestion on Sunday and said she would hang on to her ticket.
“If she wears very revealing outfits, I think that’s just part of the show,” she said.