Islamic party of Malaysia calls for Ed Sheeran ban over LGBT stance


  • Opposition leader urged government to impose a ban on pro-LGBT artists
  • Organisers must now have a ‘kill switch’ ready in case artists share views



Ed Sheeran should be banned from performing in Malaysia during his world tour over his stance on LGBT rights, the country’s Islamic Party has said.

The British singer-songwriter is set to play the Bukit Jalil National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur later this month as part of his colossal two-year long Mathematics tour.

But on the eve of Ramadan in March, an annual period of holy reflection for Muslims, Malaysia’s opposition party released a statement urging the government to take ‘a firm stand’ against the ‘saddening’ decision to allow the event.

The statement from DUPP chief Ahmad Yahaya said the gig would ‘pollute the sanctity of the month of Ramadan’ as the ‘invited artiste [sic] has a background of LGBT ideology which is firmly rejected by Malaysia’.

The Muslim-majority nation in southeast Asia was shocked last year when The 1975 frontman Matt Healy kissed bandmate Ross MacDonald on stage during a performance last year.

Since then, the DUPP has pushed for tighter restrictions on foreign acts, describing the ‘indecent scene’ as a ‘disgusting tragedy’.

But conservative opposition has not yet been enough to disallow artists for their views, with Malaysia allowing a Coldplay concert to go ahead in November despite outcry from Muslims over the band’s support for the LGBTQ+ community. 

Ed Sheeran (C) and Aaron Dessner at the 66th Annual GRAMMY Awards on February 4, 2024
Matt Healy (in green) kisses his bandmate on stage during a concert in Malaysia last July
Muslim protestors demand the cancellation of a concert by British band Coldplay over their stance on LGBTQ+ rights

In the statement shared on February 1, the Malaysian Islamic Party called on the government to ban artists who openly support the LGBT community from performing altogether – ahead of Sheeran’s upcoming concert on February 24.

The DUPP argued allowing such performers into the country would be culturally insensitive at a time where many Muslims are fasting, studying the Quran and refraining from vices to get closer to God.

Malaysia’s anti-LGBT laws 

Homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia and laws criminalising sodomy are punishable by imprisonment. 

LGBTQ people in the country also face regular discrimination by authorities and rights groups have been warned of growing intolerance.

In addition, Muslims could be convicted in a court under sharia law with the possibility of a judicially-sanctioned capital punishment for homosexuality. 

There are no LGBT rights in the country and no laws that protect the community against discrimination and hate crimes. 

Conversation therapy is not only practiced regularly, but is promoted by high-profile figures. 

In 2023 it was ranked at the second worst country in the world for transgender rights, according to the Global Trans Rights Index.  

Linking Ed Sheeran’s upcoming performance to The 1975’s act last year, which ultimately saw the Good Vibes Festival abandoned and the band ordered to pay $2.6mn in damages, the DUPP’s chief urged the government to ‘never allow the performance of any pro-LGBT Western artiste to respect the glory of the month of Ramadan’.

He described Matt Healy’s performance as ‘insulting’ to the the country’s ‘stance of rejecting the ideology’.

‘Do we not learn from past mistakes? Are we becoming more and more desensitised, especially when the performance is scheduled when Muslims are preparing to usher in Ramadan?’ he said. 

Healy was filmed on stage sharing a kiss with his bassist and ranting against the Malaysian government in July 2023, sparking outrage among conservative Muslims.

Four months later, the country’s Communications and Digital Minister responded to outcry by threatening British band Coldplay with a ‘kill switch’ to turn off their November act should they offend cultural sensibilities.

The ministry instructed organisers they must have a switch to stop performances dead should artists go off script and say anything deviant of the country’s culture and beliefs.

Minister Fahmi Fadzilit made diplomatic overtures at the time, noting that ‘the prime minister has also said the band is very supportive of Palestine. So, we are upbeat about the concert’.

Concern followed protests organised across the country to urge the government to ban Coldplay outright.

Some 75,000 fans attended the gig regardless, making it the country’s biggest concert to date. 

Chris Martin, frontman for the band, has not shied away from using his stage to share personal politics.

During a performance in Tokyo last year, he told his audience:

‘Right now there is so much trouble in the world, so many terrible things happening. Most people on earth are full of love and full of kindness, compassion.

‘I don’t want to judge anybody else for being themselves. We don’t believe in oppression, or occupation, terrorism or genocide, nothing like that.’

‘Wherever you want to send this now to the world, you send it. You can send it to Gaza and Israel, you can send it to the West Bank, Azerbaijan, Albania, Ukraine, Russia, Iran, Sudan, Elo Congo, your sister, your mother, brother – anyone who you feel needs love from Tokyo,’ he added.

Matty Healy slammed Malaysia’s anti-gay laws in a profanity-filled speech before the controversial kiss

Following The 1975’s ban, outspoken singer Matt Healy was quick to snap back at conservative critics, writing online: ‘Ok well why don’t you try and not make out with Ross for 20 years. Not as easy as it looks.’ 

He also posted a series of throwback snaps with MacDonald to suggest a very close relationship between the two of them and poking fun at the ban. 

He also shared a video of a speech by author and speaker Christopher Hitchens in the midst of the AIDS crisis, in which he said: ‘Homosexuality is not just a form of sex – it’s a form of love.’

In his speech before the kiss, Healy said: ‘I do not see the point of inviting The 1975 to a country and then telling us who we can have sex with.’

He added: ‘I made a mistake. When we were booking shows, I wasn’t looking into it.’ 

‘Unfortunately you don’t get a set of loads of uplifting songs because I’m f****** furious and that’s not fair on you, because you’re not representative of your government because you are young people, and I’m sure a lot of you are gay and progressive and cool.’ 

He later abruptly ended the set, saying: ‘All right, we gotta go. We just got banned from Kuala Lumpur.’

A source close to the band told MailOnline at the time: ‘Matty has a long-time record of advocating for the LGBTQ+ community and the band wanted to stand up for their LGBTQ+ fans and the community.’ 

The band later cancelled two upcoming tour dates in Asia.



This article was originally published by a www.dailymail.co.uk . Read the Original article here. .