People

Mashrou’ Leila face threats

and Pressure to cancel Byblos Festival concert
By Helena Saadeh
July 23, 2019

Social media campaign has been calling for the last few days for banning Lebanese band Mashrou' Leila, from having their concert scheduled for the 9th of August within Byblos International Festival. What happened? The lead singer of the band Hamed Sinno shared pictures that show disrespect to Christian religion, by switching the face of the Virgin Mary with Madonna’s. Plus, their new song, Djinn, feature some lyrics which were considered by some as offensive towards Christian religion. Mashrou’ Leila were targeted by a Facebook group named "God's soldiers", which has threatened the band as well as the concertgoers in a series of posts

The Information Office of the Maronite Diocese of Jbeil issued a statement in which they affirmed that “after learning about the objectives of Mashrou3 Leila and the content of the songs they perform, which mostly attack religious and human values ​​, the Maronite Bishop of Jbeil strongly condemns the concert on August 9." They added: " Byblos is the city of co-existence and culture. It is not appropriate to hold such concerts on its own soil, especially as it directly conflicts with the Christian faith and the religious ethics." The diocese called on the competent authorities, namely the Byblos-Jbeil Tourist Committee, to stop the band from performing within the upcoming Byblos International Festival.

"Unfortunately, in a tremendous amount of extremism and confusion," said Hamed Sinno, the band's frontman, on his Facebook page. He defended himself saying that he neither drew or made these pictures and that he had the freedom to write whatever he wanted on his page.

Many fans have since rushed to defend the indie band whose frontman is openly gay. During the last couple of years, Mashrou’ Leila have been banned from performing in Jordan and Egypt over accusations that their music is blasphemous.

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