The Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), the third-largest parliamentary group, is calling on the government to cancel Ed Sheeran’s upcoming concert, citing the British singer-songwriter’s support for the LGBT+ community.
Mufti of Penang, Wan Salim, a key religious leader of the opposition party, issued a fatwa, urging authorities to ban the performance, suggesting it might “violate Islamic law” due to Sheeran’s backing of the lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual, and intersex community.
Scheduled for Feb. 24 at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Sheeran’s concert is under scrutiny as PAS leaders express concerns about his public support for LGBT+ causes, citing his previous displays of solidarity, including wrapping himself in a rainbow flag.
This isn’t the first time PAS has opposed Western concerts; last year, they protested against Coldplay’s performance for similar reasons. Despite demonstrations, the show proceeded without incidents, a pattern seen in Indonesia as well.
Malaysia has witnessed increasing intolerance towards the LGBT+ community, with homosexual acts classified as a crime. The push for concert cancellations follows controversies such as The 1975’s vocalist criticizing Malaysian laws on same-sex relationships during the Good Vibes music festival in July last year, leading to the suspension of the band’s performance.
In October, the government mandated a button at all concerts to cut sound and light immediately in case of any “unwanted incident.” EFE