Black Eyed Peas play Malaysia after ban on Muslims lifted



KUALA LUMPUR, Beh Lih Yi - US hip-hop band the Black Eyed Peas played in front of a multiracial audience in Malaysia this weekend after a ban on Muslims was lifted, although frontwoman Fergie was forced to cover up.
The event, sponsored by the Guinness brewery, was initally restricted to non-Muslims, barring the 60 percent of Malaysia's population who are Muslim Malays.



Black Eyed Peas play Malaysia after ban on Muslims lifted
But after an outcry the government dropped the ban and said anyone aged over 18 could attend, although alcohol sales at Friday's concert were restricted to areas which signs said were off-limits to Muslims.
Malays are not allowed to drink alcohol while the nation's Chinese and Indian minorities are not restricted.
The Grammy award-winning band's iconic singer will.i.am welcomed the move which allowed all Malaysians to attend their third concert in the country.
"I'm so thrilled. All the times that we came to Malaysia you know everyone was able to come to the show. When we go to Dubai, when we go to Philippines, it's Muslims, Christians, everyone," he told a press conference.
"The Black Eyed Peas is everybody's music. It feels so good to be able to come here and everyone's able to see us. And we'll be able to see everyone."
The band's glamorous frontwoman Fergie said however that like other international stars who have come to perform in conservative Malaysia, she was required to leave her sexy outfits behind.
"I have had to change my costume for tonight's show but I mean the woman's silhouette is still there, whether it's clothes or not, whether you see skin or you don't, you still know the woman's body," she said.
She went on stage in a T-shirt and jeans, an outfit far more modest than that worn by many in the crowd of 5,000 who mostly adopted the event's dress code of "Black Party Chic".
The enthusiastic crowd cheered and sang along through a performance of the band's big hits including "Boom Boom Pow" and "I Gotta Feeling".
The controversy over the Black Eyed Peas is the latest in a series of cases that have raised fears Islamic law is on the rise in Malaysia, threatening its secular status.
Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, a 32-year-old part-time model, was sentenced to six strokes of the cane by an Islamic court in July for drinking beer, but the government said the punishment was "too harsh" and put it on hold.
Performances by foreign bands frequently come under fire in Malaysia, particularly from the conservative Islamic party PAS which has called for an October 25 concert by US singer Beyonce to be banned, two years after her debut here was shelved over fears of demonstrations.
It held protests against Canadian rocker Avril Lavigne's concert last year after failing to have it banned, saying her performance would weaken the younger generation "morally and mentally".
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Saturday, September 26th 2009
Beh Lih Yi
           


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