Malaysia asks Avril Lavigne to postpone concert

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (Reuters) - Malaysia’s government has told promoters of a concert by Canadian pop star Avril Lavigne to postpone the show because it could mar the country’s independence day celebrations, an official said on Wednesday.

Avril Lavigne of Canada performs on stage during her concert in Budapest July 7, 2008. REUTERS/Karoly Arvai

The decision came after the opposition Islamic party, Parti se-Islam Malaysia, objected to the August 29 concert in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, saying that Malaysia, which is predominantly Muslim, should not ape Western values and cultures.

Although Malaysia is a moderate Muslim country with sizable non-Muslim minorities, conservative groups often frown upon departures from strict interpretations of the Koran.

A culture ministry official said the show’s promoters must find another slot for Lavigne.

“We did not reject the concert. We asked them to find another date as the original date is so close to the independence day,” the official said. “That’s the only reason.”

A spokesman for the concert’s organizers said that more than half the tickets had already been sold. “As far as we are concerned, the show is still on,” he said.

Malaysia marks its 51st year of independence from Britain on August 31.

In October, U.S. R&B star Beyonce Knowles axed her debut concert in Malaysia in protest of the country’s ultra-strict dress code and over fears of a Muslim outcry over her show.

But a year ago, U.S. singer Gwen Stefani performed in Malaysia despite calls from Muslim students to cancel the concert because they deemed it too obscene.