- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 28, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Muslim-majority Malaysia on Tuesday banned a planned concert by Erykah Badu after a photograph appeared showing the Grammy-winning singer with the Arabic word for Allah written on her body.

The American R&B singer was scheduled to perform Wednesday in Kuala Lumpur, but some Muslim groups said Ms. Badu was an unsuitable role model for young Malaysians after seeing a publicity photo of her with what appeared to be temporary tattoos of the word “Allah” on her bare shoulders.

A government committee that includes police and Islamic policy officials decided to forbid Ms. Badus show because the body art was “an insult to Islam and a very serious offense,” Information Minister Rais Yatim said in a statement.

The photo of Ms. Badu had “triggered public criticism that could jeopardize national security and cause a negative impact to the governments image,” the statement added.

The 41-year-old Dallas-born singer had already arrived in Malaysia. She can stay as a tourist, but will not be allowed to perform, an Information Ministry official said on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make public statements.

Razman Razali, managing director of the shows Malaysian organizer, Pineapple Concerts, said his company hopes the ban will be reversed.

Ms. Badu is “worried and dismayed,” he told the Associated Press. She was slated to perform in an auditorium that can hold about 3,000 spectators.

It was the first concert by a Western performer to be banned in Malaysia in recent years. Several other stars, including Gwen Stefani and Avril Lavigne, were told to dress modestly while performing.

The photograph of Ms. Badu, which also appears on her official fan website, attracted attention after Malaysias most widely read English-language daily, the Star, published it Monday.

On Tuesday, the newspaper apologized to Muslims for what it called an “oversight,” saying it deeply regretted any offense sparked by the photo, which was “inadvertently published.” The Home Ministry summoned the Stars editors to explain the photograph, which caused some Muslim activists to demand the newspapers suspension.

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