The result of a hasty cancellation

By Mahmud Farjami

Mohsen Namjoo’s live concert on 18 February in Malaysia was cancelled by the government only a few days before the performance. Thousands of Iranians who planned to attend the event and bought the tickets have been extremely upset and confused. It gets worse when you hear that some of them spent a few thousand ringgit to fly over from Iran.

Malaysia is a multicultural country with a growing economy of whom a large part was achieved through the tourism industry, Malaysia as a second home, and study as a result of brilliant programming and clever plants of the Malaysian government. Accordingly, about 70 thousand Iranians came to Malaysia while bringing in millions of ringgit per year. 

Such unpleasant decisions as cancelling a concert can dissatisfy many Iranians or show to some investors that Malaysia may not be a safe place for similar programs. If today, the Iranian concert is cancelled just a few days before the performance, what is the guarantee that a British concert will not be banned tomorrow? Or an Australian exhibition will be prohibited later on?

Based on what the authorities announced, objection by a group of Malay Muslims is the reason for stopping the performance because they claimed that Mohsen Namjoo insulted Qur’an and the Islam prophet. 

A few days ago, a Malay classmate of mine in Penang said she has seen herself that Namjoo insulted Islam. I asked her whether she knows Farsi (Namjoo’s motherhood language and of course other Iranians). She supposed that Namjoo composes and sings in English. After my explanation, she accepted that it might be either the translation was made by unfair persons or was translated wrongly.

Namjoo is not only a creative musician and singer, he is also a poet. The poem world is different from the real world. It is in Iran at least; where it is possible to find some poems in very famous poet books which may look confusing or insulting. Perhaps harsher than what Namjoo intended. Are the famous Persian poets like Sa’di, Hafez, Molavi, Khayyam, Ferdowsi and Sanaee are detested people among Iranian Muslims? It is not true as all Iranian Muslims love them. Nobody analyses a Farsi poem like a philosophy article.

Moreover, most of Namjoo’s songs have social, romantic, folk and political content. Certainly, he would not perform confusing songs in his Malaysia concert. Furthermore, they could have officially asked him about the contents of the songs which he wanted to perform in Malaysia. Couldn’t they?

I think the reality is different. In terms of political views, Namjoo is in the opposing side, against the Iranian government like most Iranians. The reason to stop his performance was due to political, not religious, tenets. Probably, it was caused directly or indirectly by the embassy of the Iran regime to provoke those respectful Malay Muslim groups in Malaysia. Unfortunately, most Muslims in Malaysia are wrong about the Iran government which dictates everything on behalf of Islam. For instance, the fundamentalist Shi’a regime in Iran does not allow Sunni Muslims (the majority in the Muslim world) to have their own mosque in most cities especially in Tehran. They must go to a Shi’a mosque. While other religions, like Christians and Jews, can have their own.

As an Iranian, I like Malaysia and respect their rules. I feel happy for being in this beautiful and peaceful country. But, such behavior is below Iranians’ and the Malay people’s dignity. I hope the Malaysian government presents convincing reasons to redress the effect of their decision. It is at least significant to show to the world how Malaysia cares about the tourism industry and tourism culture. I kindly advise the Malaysian Muslims to not be involved in the political traps planned by the Iran regime especially when they do not care about anything except themselves. Be sure the Iranians who reside in Malaysia will be glad to see your country advance. Please do not annoy them.