Malaysia Cancels Controversial Iranian's Concert


Malaysia has cancelled a concert by a singer dubbed Iran's Bob Dylan after an Islamic party argued Mohsen Namjoo's work was incompatible with Islam, media reports and his website said Wednesday.

The 34-year-old, whose music fuses traditional Iranian music with pop and jazz, was due to perform in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.

But Malaysia's minister for information, communication and culture, Rais Yatim, said the event would no longer go ahead.

"The government will not allow the concert because it (is) not appropriate in terms of religion, culture and the country's cosmopolitan nature," he was quoted by the Star newspaper as saying.

In 2007 Mohsen was dubbed Iran's answer to Bob Dylan by the New York Times, which highlighted his "playful but subtly cutting lyrics" about growing up in an Islamic state.

Malaysia's conservative Islamic party, the Pan-Malaysia Islamic Party (PAS), had pushed for a ban against Mohsen.

"His presence in the country will offend Muslims as he is known to have ridiculed Islam and the Koran in his past performance," PAS Youth chief Nasrudin Hassan Tantawi said in a statement.

In 2009 Mohsen was sentenced in absentia by an Iranian court to five years in jail for ridiculing the Koran holy book in a song, Iranian media reported.

The Iranian Koran News Agency said at the time the singer maintained he was the victim of an "unauthorized release" of his work on the Internet.

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