Malaysian PM dismisses calls to cancel Coldplay show amidst war in Gaza

Coldplay’s Music Of The Spheres World Tour in Paris last year. Photo: Coldplay/Facebook
Coldplay’s Music Of The Spheres World Tour in Paris last year. Photo: Coldplay/Facebook

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has dismissed calls to cancel the Nov. 22 Coldplay concert in the Malaysian capital, asserting that the British band is a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause. 

Malay Mail reported that the controversy surrounding the concert escalated during the Prime Minister’s Question Time in the Dewan Rakyat when Machang MP Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal from Bersatu questioned its appropriateness.

“Coldplay is actually among the bands that support Palestine,” Anwar declared, highlighting the band’s alignment with the Palestinian cause. He further emphasized that previous administrations had approved similar concerts, addressing concerns raised by members of the political spectrum.

The call to cancel the concert has been predominantly led by the Perikatan Nasional (PN) federal opposition bloc, with its Islamist component PAS at the forefront. Politicians aligned with PN have attempted to link the concert to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, portraying the Anwar administration as indifferent to the Palestinian plight.

PAS leaders argue that holding a music event during Israeli bombardment of Gaza would divert attention from the suffering of Palestinians. This demand, however, has faced significant resistance, not only from the government but also from a considerable number of moderate Muslims.

The controversy takes place against the backdrop of the recent escalation of violence in the Middle East, with over 11,000 Palestinians, including many children and women, losing their lives in Israeli bombardments since Oct. 7. Israel’s restriction of humanitarian aid and essential supplies has further intensified the humanitarian crisis.

Federal Territories Mufti Luqman Abdullah has supported the call to cancel the Coldplay concert, urging Muslims not to endorse the event. Prime Minister Anwar, responding to the concerns, expressed his willingness to discuss the matter with Luqman. However, he did not clarify whether the concert would proceed.

“I will discuss with the mufti because there are lobby groups from the Palestinian movement that have approached the foreign minister and my office to ask why we are blocking a music band that supports Palestine from performing,” Anwar stated. “But because this has been raised and there are other issues that we do not agree with, I will discuss it again.”

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