Erykah Badu has been told by the Malaysian government that she is not permitted to perform in their country as scheduled today after causing offense by using this promotional picture showing her bare shoulders (temporarily) tattooed with the word “Allah” in Arabic.
Rais Yatim, Malaysia’s information minister in a statement to the Associated Press said that the temporary tattoos were “an insult to Islam and a very serious offense” and that the images have “triggered public criticism that could jeopardize national secruity and cause a negative impact to the governments image”. He added that while Badu (who was already in the country when the decision was made) is banned from performing, she is permitted to stay in the country as a tourist.
The photograph in question attracted attention after Malaysia’s most widely read English-language daily, The Star, published it on Monday. The publication has since apologised to Muslims who may have been offended stating it was an “oversight” on their behalf. The Home Ministry subsequently summoned the papers editor to explain the publication of the image.
An alternative version of the image, without the “offensive” tattoos was also used to promo the show – see that here.
The Grammy Award winner responded to the incident on twitter simply saying “Malaysia!! … I deserve it”.