The group of Dutch symphonic metal Within Temptation has announced Sunday to cancel a concert in a festival in Lebanon by “solidarity” with a group of rock lebanese whose performance has been pulled from the schedule after virulent criticism from christian groups.

” READ ALSO – In Lebanon, the concert of a rock group cancelled under the pressure of christians

on Tuesday, the organizers of the international festival of Byblos, a seaside resort north of the capital Beirut, have claimed to be “forced” to cancel the concert of the rock group ac Mashrou’Leila “to avoid bloodshed”.

With a singer is openly gay and texts involved dissecting social issues and addressing the issues of LGBT, the group Mashrou’Leila, formed in 2008 by students of the american university of Beirut, has been accused of violating the sacredness of christian symbols.

● Mashrou’ Leila – Raksit Leila

The Dutch group, which was to occur on Wednesday at Byblos, said Sunday on its page Facebook the “violent threats” made by “religious fanatics” against Mashrou’Leila. “We have decided to cancel our show at Byblos in solidarity with Mashrou’Leila and in support of tolerance, freedom of speech and expression,” said the group in a press release.

The catholic Center of information, a religious institution, who collaborates with the authorities in matters of censorship and artistic and cultural, had been one of the voices calling for the cancellation of the concert of Mashrou’ Leila. Within Temptation has noted that “the lebanese authorities are not in a capacity to provide security for artists to be able to occur in peace.”

Sunday, the artistic director of the festival of Byblos, Naji Baz, said he was saddened by the decision of the Dutch artists, but claimed not to regret having cancelled the concert of Mashrou’ Leila. “The safety of our artists and our spectators is our top priority”, he said to the AFP. “We have never cancelled any performance in the context of our festival, even in the worst of times (…) If we made it this time, certainly the rage in the heart, it is by absolute necessity”.

the origin of the controversy around Mashrou’ Leila, an article shared on Facebook by the leader of the group,

“The safety of our artists and our spectators is our top priority”

Naji Baz, artistic director of the festival of Byblos

Hamed Sinno, illustrated by a photomontage where the face of the Virgin Mary has been replaced by that of the american star Madonna. But also two songs, the Idols and Dj in , offensive, according to the Church the “religious values and human”. Mosaic of eighteen religious communities, Lebanon is one of the most liberal countries in the Middle East. But the religious institutions continue to exert a major influence on the cultural and social affairs. The cancellation of the concert of Mashrou’Leila “is a step backward for Lebanon, said Tuesday, the NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW).

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