A local publication is under fire for publishing a photo of American singer Erykah Badu wearing two temporary tattoos of the word 'Allah' in Arabic.

The picture published by The Star, one of Malaysia's leading newspapers, offended many Malaysian-Muslims as tattoos are forbidden in Islam, and tattoos of Islamic references are deemed an insult to Muslims.

"While Americans and non-Muslims view tattoos as an art form, the name of Allah should never be used that way," said Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Senator Datuk Dr Mashitah Ibrahim, "Our religion does not even permit the name of Allah to be brought into the bathroom, let alone be used as a tattoo."

Much to the dismay of many looking forward to seeing Erykah Badu live in KL, Malaysia's minister of information Datuk Seri Utama Rais Yatim announced on his Twitter that the R&B star's scheduled performance tomorrow night has been canceled.

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However, the concert organizers haven't issued any official statements confirming the concert's cancellation.

The Star today issued a public apology stating:
A PHOTOGRAPH of American singer Erykah Badu with tattoos of various symbols, including the Arabic word for Allah, was inadvertently published in Star2 yesterday.

We deeply regret any offence caused to Muslims and sincerely apologise for the oversight.
In light of the issue, the Home Ministry have summoned The Star's chief news editor, managing editor and senior editor to submit, in seven days, a written explanation of the incident.

Former PAS (Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party) deputy president Nasharudin Mat Isa noted that while the tattoos were temporary, there were many other photos of the singer without the symbols that the publication could have chosen from.

Datuk Nadzim Johan, chief activist of the Muslim Consumers Association also expressed that the paper should have censored the image accordingly.

Erykah Badu was scheduled to perform on Wednesday, February 29, at Kuala Lumpur Convention Center's Plenary Hall. She is reported to have already arrived in Kuala Lumpur.

[AlArabiya]
[TheStar]
[MSN]
[NST]