National police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar said Tuesday the permit for her June 3 “Born This Way Ball” concert — the biggest show on her Asian tour — had been denied. Jakarta police recommended the denial.
Although Indonesia has a long history of religious tolerance, a small extremist fringe has become more vocal in recent years. A secular country of 240 million people, it has more Muslims than any other nation.
Hard-liners have loudly criticized Lady Gaga, saying the suggestive nature of her show threatened to undermine the country’s moral fiber. Some threatened to use physical force to prevent her from stepping off the plane.
The local promoter, Michael Rusli, could not immediately be reached for comment. Earlier, he told The Associated Press it would be “regrettable” if police didn’t give the clearance.
Fans have been eagerly awaiting Lady Gaga, he said, with every seat in Jakarta’s 52,000-seat Gelora Bung Karno stadium scooped up — half in the first two hours of sales.
“I’m very disappointed,” said Mariska Renata, who had tickets to the Jakarta show.
She said by bowing to the wishes of “troublemakers,” authorities only give them more power. “We are mature enough to be able to separate our own moral values from arts and culture,” Renata said.
Lady Gaga’s Asian tour started late last month and many of the stops have sold out. The South Korean concerts were limited to fans 18 or older because conservatives there raised objections.