Malaysia praying 311 AP.
(photo credit: AP)
Muslim-majority Malaysia has barred an Iranian singer from performing a concert later this week because his work has insulted Islam, authorities said Wednesday.
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Mohsen Namjoo was scheduled to sing Friday in Kuala Lumpur, but a government panel that monitors shows by foreign artists rejected the plan because an Iranian court had convicted the 34-year-old Namjoo in 2009 of "disrespecting religious sanctities" in a song that used verses from the Koran.
"It is not appropriate in terms of religion, culture and the country's
cosmopolitan nature," Malaysian Information Minister Rais Yatim said in a
An official from the government agency that oversees foreign acts said
Namjoo's record "clearly shows he insulted the image of Islam."
"If we approve it, it will cause dissatisfaction among the Muslim
community in Malaysia," the official said on condition of anonymity
because he was not authorized to make public statements.
An Iranian court in 2009 sentenced Namjoo in absentia to five years in
prison over a song leaked online that was accused of ridiculing the
Koran. Namjoo, who was then based in Austria, has reportedly denied
intending any disrespect, insisting the song was never meant for public
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Namjoo, who plays the sitar and guitar, is known for folk songs that
sometimes blend classical poetry with satirical lyrics. He has performed
various shows in the United States in recent years.
Advertisements for Namjoo's planned Malaysian concert at a major
auditorium were placed on his website last year, but it was not clear
how many tickets were sold. A representative for the concert organizers
in Kuala Lumpur declined to immediately comment.
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