By way of background, Mother Monster is set to hold a concert at Gelora Bung Karno in Jakarta but Ridwan has banned attendance, blaming her "sexy and controversial outfits" for this drastic action. This, even though he has never seen her perform and is said to be making this call based solely on second hand information.
However, in response to this ban by the Islamic leader, ticket sales have soared.
Indeed, according to recent local reports, in the first couple of hours after the Gaga seats for the gathering set to happen early this summer were up for grabs, some 25,000 tickets were purchased. This despite the claim by the aforementioned Ridwan that this American performance artist will be exhibiting something that is haram.
Haram, in Muslim terms, means forbidden. This Arabic word (also spelled haraam) refers to anything prohibited by Allah or God and is said to be the worst sin a Muslim can commit. To illustrate the seriousness of this term, consider that actions such as murder and adultery are defined this way, at least as far as the Quran is concerned. Foods like pork and alcohol also fit into this category.
That said, certain times under certain circumstances, the word haram is used for objects, foods or actions that typically are not considered forbidden. For instance, music is not forbidden but. in this case, Lady Gaga and her work on stage is, at least as far as one certain Indonesia Muslin is concerned.
In fact, Ridwan wants all those Little Monsters who already purchased tickets to the Gaga concert in this Asian hot spot be returned. He calls the concert's intension a way to "destroy the nation's morality."
And. while other Western singers have come, performed, and been enjoyed in Indonesia, Cholil believes now is the time to curtail what he considers "cultural attacks." He asserts that Indonesians will be influenced by Gaga's behavior on stage, and wants to stop this from happening by telling his country men and women to stay away from what this talent has to offer.
Meanwhile, another chairman of the MUI alongside Ridwan, Siamet Effendi Yusuf, is not of the same opinion. In fact, he says that the council has not given a formal haram fatwa (or dictum).
And so, labeled moral or immoral, Lady Gaga's offering is still on the boards for June 3 at Gelora Bung Karno in Jakarta, a country that seems to like Monster enough to fill the Indonesian venue in short order even though one member of the Muslim community is none too thrilled. Not at all.
Image: Wikipedia Commons, Talktomegaga