Jun 05, 2012 11:10 PM GMT
I find his comment oddly funny: "Lady Gaga [does] more to galvanize Muslim hatred of the West than all Israeli settlements combined"
So here's the latest news from Planet Gaga: Last week, the star announced she was canceling her June 3 Jakarta concert date, disappointing the 52,000 ticket holders who had sold out the show in days. The reason? A group called the Front for the Defense of Islam, or FPI, had threatened to "wreak havoc" at the concert. Their reason? She brings "the faith of Satan to our country and thus will destroy the nation's morals," according to an FPI leader.
Then again, who isn't bringing Satan to the Muslim world these days?
Shortly before Gaga's canceled appearance, Irshad Manji, director of the Moral Courage Project at New York University, visited Indonesia to promote her moving new book, "Allah, Liberty and Love." Ms. Manji is a faithful Muslim, a refugee from Idi Amin's Uganda to Canada, and the author of the 2004 best seller, "The Trouble With Islam." That book's subtitle, "A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith," gives away the gist.
Ms. Manji is also no stranger to Indonesia, having toured the country four years ago to promote her last book. Back then, she found a mostly tolerant country, eager to debate her ideas if not always to embrace them. Not anymore.
"Four years ago at Gadjah Mada"—one of Indonesia's leading universities—"they welcomed me with open arms; I spoke to three hundred students," she tells me. "This time the rector canceled my event."
That wasn't the only trouble Ms. Manji ran into in Indonesia. She and her party were repeatedly turned away from hotels. A community event in south Jakarta was disrupted by a deputy police chief who announced that "the community doesn't want Irshad here." At an event at an Islamic Center in Yogyakarta she was set upon by radicals wielding crowbars and yelling "Where's Manji?" Audience members formed a human shield around Ms. Manji, but an assistant of hers was hit and had part of her vertebrae dislocated.