- (Photo: Reuters/Musacchio & Ianniello, Handout)
American singer-songwriter Erykah Badu has been banned from performing in Malaysia this week after a controversial photo showing music artist donning a temporary tattoo, which reads "Allah" across her shoulders, was revealed.
Malaysian authorities announced Tuesday that it would be canceling Badu's Wednesday concert, which was to be held in Kuala Lumpur.
The controversy began on Monday, when Malaysia's most widely read English-language daily, The Star newspaper, published a nude photo of Badu with the Arabic word for "Allah," as well as Hebrew words, tattooed on the upper part of her body. The tattoos were suspected to be temporary.
Information Minister Rais Yatim said in a statement Tuesday that government officials decided to cancel the concert because Badu's tattoos were "an insult to Islam and a very serious offense."
According to The Telegraph, the statement went on to say that Badu's photo "triggered public criticism that could jeopardize national security and cause a negative impact to the government's image."
It is considered highly offensive in Muslim culture to don any image or representation of Allah on one's body or in any other non-religious form. Malaysia is roughly sixty percent Muslim.
Badu reportedly has already landed in Malaysia, and has been told by government officials that she may stay as a tourist but cannot perform.
This is not the first time Badu, 41, has sparked controversy. The R&B singer-songwriter's 2010 music video entitled "Window Seat" stirred controversy because it depicted a nude Badu being shot at in Dallas' Dealey Plaza, where former President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. It is believed that Badu was alluding to JFK's death in the video, and critics deemed the video as insensitive.