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Rather, the performance was not to happen at all. And this took place in a nation supposedly a showcase of democracy and Islamic tolerance.
“This incident does not have much to do with the American singer,” wrote Step Vaessen in an Aljazeera article headlined “Gag on Lady Gaga Stirs Indonesian Fears,” wrote that the cancellation “illustrates a far deeper conflict that is dividing Indonesia.”
The piece quoted Hendari, head of the Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace. “The fact that police can’t guarantee security of the concert shows that our state is weak towards groups that promote intolerance.”
For Musdah Mulia, from the Indonesian Conference on Religion and Peace, “This shows how our reforms after 14 years have failed. During the Suharto era, the military ruled. Now, in our so-called democratic era, religion is used as a political tool to cover up the government’s weaknesses like corruption.”
Aljazeera estimates the Islamic Defenders Front at one-tenth of the population but “though a minority, they managed to gain a huge influence on the nation because of their violent actions and threats. Local authorities stopped issuing permits for churches after the groups loudly and violently opposed them. Christian congregations are forced to hold their services on public roads because they are not allowed to build a church.”
According to the piece, the Islamic Defenders Front has also been active against the Islamic reformist movement Ahmadiyah. “In February 2011, three members of the sect were publicly butchered to death in the town of Cikeusik.”
On Twitter, Lady Gaga said: “There is nothing holy about hatred.” The Aljazeera piece concluded: “Many Indonesians believe it is this ‘hatred’ that the government should be most worried about.”
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