National

US lays hopes on RI over
Gaga

The United States says it believes that as a democracy, Indonesia will eventually let US pop singer Lady Gaga perform in Jakarta despite opposition from several groups.

"This is a matter for Indonesia to decide. Our hope would be of course that it's the Indonesian community as a whole to be heard on the views and not the views of a small group,” US Ambassador Scot Marciel told reporters on Wednesday at the House of Representatives.

“The US believes in freedom of expression and tolerance. And you know I think that Indonesia as I said has a long tradition of support for freedom of expression and tolerance as well," he said.

He said concerns arose more on minority groups that had not been protected against “some groups that are intolerant”.

Groups like the hard-line Islam Defenders Front (FPI), the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) and the Prosperous Justice Party have expressed opposition to the singer’s concert.

The Jakarta Police have also maintained their stance against the singer but may have to bow to the National Police, which said they would issue a permit for the concert if local promoter Big Daddy Entertainment manages to acquire recommendations from the MUI and the Religious Affairs Ministry.

When asked whether the US had interfered with the permit issue, Marciel said: “Well, we had our people with the security talking about the security side of it [the concert]. That's true indeed.”

“But otherwise we have not been engaged with the police on this [permit].” (mtq)

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