Jordan cancels concert by pro-gay rights Lebanese band

Special to WorldTribune.com

A Lebanese rock bank known for its social activism and support of gay rights was banned from performing in Jordan.

Beirut-based Mashrou’ Leila was notified of the ban days before its scheduled April 29 concert in Amman, the band said in a statement on Facebook.

Lebanese rock band Mashrou' Leila
Lebanese rock band Mashrou’ Leila

Through its support of political and religious freedom and endorsement of gender equality and sexual identity, Mashrou’ Leila had come to be known as “the soundtrack to the Arab Spring,” according to Vice.

Jordan’s Ministry of Tourism said the band went against the “authenticity” of the venue. The group had played at the same venue on three previous occasions.

Band members said they were “unofficially informed” — verbally and not in writing — that they will not be allowed to perform anywhere in Jordan due to their advocacy for gay rights, gender equality and political freedom.

“We believe wholeheartedly that we have only ever acted with the intention of making our world a more equal, and just place, even if ‘only through song,’ ” the band said in a statement. “We pledge to our audience that we will continue to place the integrity of our art as our foremost priority, and to never succumb to the pressure to compromise our message, or to waive our freedom to speak.”

The April 29 performance would have been Mashrou’ Leila’s last concert in the Middle East before the band embarks on the North America leg of its tour, vocalist Hamed Sinno told BuzzFeed News.

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