Performers in Muslim countries usually face opposition from the conservative factions of those societies; Lady Gaga's concert in Indonesia was cancelled recently amid pressure by conservatives and hardliners.The timing was also not appropriate as the event came after the Houla Massacre in Syria. Madonna was slammed by Twitter users for various reasons.
UAE dress code
Fashion designer Hala Zadeh summarized the sequence of events in her tweet:
@halaZadeh: Getting Madonna to Abu Dhabi, knowing who she is, then criticize her and trash her everywhere!
There is no law regarding dress codes in the Emirates but efforts have been put in place to make a dress code law.
Savannah NOT Banana said:
@EasyAsPieMmmPie: You know who else didn't care about #UAEDressCode? Madonna, in Abu Dhabi, or anywhere really
Blatant exposition of Christian symbols
As the Arabian Peninsula is the birthplace of Islam, it is sometimes considered offensive to expose symbols of other religions in a blatant way. Madonna used crosses of different sizes as stage props and the concert was started by ringing bells, chants and monks. Khaled Hammadi tweeted:
Saudi netizen Mansour Al-Harethi tweeted:
Alleged affiliation with the illuminati
@Hamad_AlShirawi: No more crazy illuminati concerts please. #Madonna
Expatriate blogger Pam posted:
I am no prude, but she pushed the limits. I am sure some people who attended, and perhaps some leaders of this country who got wind of what went down were not very happy with her. There is nothing directed at Islam in the show that I could see, but I am sure her kissing a woman and the cross dressing dances didn’t go over well among other things.
At the beginning of the concert, Madonna addressed the crowd calling them “sons of a bitch.” Saudi Sheikh Khaled Al-Saqaby tweeted:
American Expatriate blogger Thomas O'Hara posted:
I'm told that her first song was in HEBREW and that she spewed profanities during the entire show. A common ex-pat would be thrown in jail for years for that kind of public behavior.
The concert was held soon after the Houla Massacre in Syria. Emirati Twitter users said it was not time for rejoice and partying. They organized an online campaign using the Twitter hash tag [ar] #مادونا_تراقص_جراحنا (#Madonna_Dances_On_Our_Wounds).
Blogger Mohamed Alfraj posted [ar]:
Emirati blogger Ibrahim Alharam expressed his disappointment at the campaign failure tweeting:
However, Emirati blogger Ahmed Al-Gargaoui posted that Madonna's performance is controversial by nature:
We all know the hype Madonna has created, however regardless of all the fuss people have created over Madonna coming to Abu Dhabi.. I believe she performed beautifully, we all know the Madonna brand is controversial so if you do not want to associate yourself with it or dislike, simply don't just like an over 18 film at the cinema, don't go see it if it offends you.[...] I think this country is led by great men and they wouldn't allow her to perform if her content was extremely controversial or insulting.