Erykah Badu has received a less-than-friendly welcome in the Muslim country of Malaysia — the iconic neo-soul singer was banned from performing a concert there today after one of her old tattoos was discovered and deemed inappropriate, the New York Daily News reports.
The tattoo in question, the word "Allah" written in Arabic, appeared in a photo shoot Badu took two years ago and was merely temporary. However, any such representation of God is strictly forbidden in Islam, and the theocratic government of Malaysia condemned Badu for the marking.
"[It is] an insult to Islam and a very serious offense,” Information Minister Rais Yatim said in a statement.
The controversial photo was first published by Malaysia's most widely read English-language newspaper, The Star. The paper has since had to apologize for even printing the photo, which it says it did inadvertently.
In a Facebook posting, Badu said the photo shoot, in which she appears with numerous names for God written on her body, was inspired by a film from the '70s and not meant to offend anyone. Nevertheless, she expressed understanding of the Malaysian government's reaction.
"The government of Malaysia had to be responsible to its people's beliefs.... Even If it were just one or two complaints. I understand," she wrote, before adding, "It's an election year, after all."
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(Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)