Home ministry summons The Star over offensive picture

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 27 (Bernama) -- The Home Ministry today summoned The Star newspaper to explain why a picture of a United States singer who had tattoos of 'Allah' in Arabic on both sides of her bare upper body, was published in today's edition.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Lee Chee Leong said the ministry had called the Managing Editor, Chief News Editor and the Senior Editor of The Star newspaper to explain the rationale for publishing the picture.

Lee said the daily would be issued a show-cause letter, requesting for a written explanation within a week.

"Further action will be based on the daily's written explanation to the ministry," he said in a statement tonight. In the entertainment section of The Star, the picture of a funk, hip-hop and soul singer, Erykah Badu, 40, was published with her upper body displaying two tattoos (on either side, close to her armpit) with the word "Allah" written in Arabic.

The singer from Dallas, Texas, a winner of the Grammy award, is scheduled to arrive in Kuala Lumpur for a concert at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre on Feb 29.

Meanwhile, The Star has apologised to Muslim readers for publishing the photograph of the American singer.

"We sincerely apologies to Muslim readers for this oversight," the paper said on its online portal.

The paper said the photograph of Erykah Badu with tattoos of various symbols, including the Arabic word for Allah, was inadvertently published in Star2 today.