Tom McCawley is a Jakarta-based journalist and analyst.

National police have refused to issue a permit for pop star Lady Gaga to perform in Jakarta, disappointing 52,000 fans who have already paid for tickets. 

I had suspected that police would at the last minute issue a permit, but instead they have pandered to the threat of Islamist militia groups. Gaga's avante-garde fashion and pro-gay lyrics have angered groups such as the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), who have accused the performer of promoting devil worship and corrupting youth. 

The FPI and similar groups have appointed themselves in recent years as Indonesia's moral police, stepping in where they feel the Government has failed. Lady Gaga's fans, however, can be expected to join the chorus of local commentators labeling the FPI as simple thugs.

Photo by Flickr user nellyfus.