Malaysia cancels concert by Iranian singer for insulting Islam

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Malaysian authorities have cancelled an upcoming concert by Iranian singer Mohsen Namjoo for insulting Islam in his songs, officials said Wednesday.

Namjoo had been scheduled to perform in Kuala Lumpur Friday, but authorities in the mainly Muslim nation announced they had decided to cancel the show due to a past conviction in Iran for insulting Islam.

"The government disallowed the concert because it was not appropriate in terms of religion, culture and the country's cosmopolitan nature," Information, Communication and Culture Minister Rais Yatim said late Tuesday.

Ministry officials said there had been an oversight in granting the concert permit in the first place, and denied that the cancellation was due to pressure from hardline Muslim groups.

An Iranian court in 2009 convicted Namjoo, who performs a blend of traditional music with modern rock, of insulting Islam by quoting verses from the Muslim holy Quran in his songs.

Malaysia cancelled planned concerts by US singing stars Beyonce and Rihanna in 2009 after Muslim groups protested that they promoted Western culture and opposed Islam.