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MANILA, Philippines -- Filipino fans of controversial pop star Lady Gaga may not be stopped from watching her concert as part of their "basic freedom of expression."
The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued the statement when asked about moves by religious organizations to boycott her two-night concert on May 21 and 22.
“I don’t think censorship is really the way to decide whether or not you want to listen to Lady Gaga and her music, people of the Philippines have a right to decide whether to attend the concert or not, I mean this is a basic freedom of expression,” Elaine Pearson, HRW deputy Asia director, said Monday.
Pearson lauded the Philippine government “for standing up to the religious groups who have been calling for a ban.”
In Jakarta, a concert slated on June 3 remains in limbo after Indonesian police refused to grant organizers a permit because of opposition from hard-line Islamic groups.
Pearson said that while she is not a Lady Gaga fan, she believes that the 26-year-old pop star should not be barred from performing.
Over the weekend, Christian youth marched in Manila asking to stop the concert and urging Lady Gaga to respect the people’s faith. Members of the Biblemode Youth Philippines also plan to stage rallies on the concert days. Other groups opposing the performance are organizations under the United Christian Groups.
The groups’ protest stemmed from Lady Gaga’s song “Judas,” a track from her 2011 album “Born This Way.”
Much of their displeasure was focused on Lady Gaga’s song “Judas,” a track from her 2011 album “Born This Way,” whose music video features a stylized Biblical storyline in which she personifies Mary Magdalene caught between her allegiance to Jesus and an attraction to Judas Iscariot.