Christian and Islamic groups in Malaysia called for a festival concert with the American heavy metal band Lamb of God scheduled for 28 September 2013 in Kuala Lumpur to be banned. As a result, on 4 September, the band was reportedly denied permit to perform in Malaysia.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Jamil Khir Baharom had added his voice to the furore over the concert, asking that authorities immediately ban the concert.
However, according to an article by The Star, the former Perlis mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin rejected the calls for a ban. He stated that “the government should not ban a band just because a few groups are making noise. If not, nobody can perform in Malaysia! Disgruntled groups and authorities should show proof of the offensive nature of heavy metal band Lamb of God and other music groups before action to ban their performances is taken.”
The Communications and Multimedia Ministry said they rejected the U.S. band’s permit because the performances of the group were found to infringe on religious sensitivities and cultural values of Malaysian society.
The Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) had also expressed its objection to the group’s performance in the country.
“Based on shallow misinterpretation”
In response to the ban, Lamb of God issued an official statement, saying:
“It is very evident (and a bit frustrating) that the groups, parties and powers that have taken the most offence to our music and lyrics, have themselves only made a passing glance at the content and meanings of those songs.
“We would invite anyone offended by our music to engage in a discussion regarding the true motivations behind our work, especially before publicly slandering us based on assumptions and shallow misinterpretation.”
Concert promoters Livescape Asia issued an apology to the fans.
The full statements from the organisers and from Lamb of God can be read on the Facebook page of the Rockaway Festival:
The Star Online – 4 September 2013:
Lamb of God denied permit to perform in Malaysia
The Star Online – 2 September 2013:
Prove offensive nature of Lamb of God before banning it, says ex-Perlis mufti Asri
By Tashny Sukumaran