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Mashrou' Leila banned from performing in Jordan

The band has played three previous concerts in Amman [AFP]

Date of publication: 27 April, 2016

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Lebanese band Mashrou' Leila have been banned from preforming in Amman, in a decision the band says is due to their endorsement of gender equality and sexual freedom.

Jordanian authorities have cancelled a concert by Lebanese band Mashrou' Leila at Amman's Roman amphitheater scheduled for 29 April, the band announced in a statement on Tuesday.

The band, which has a considerable fan base, said Jordan withdrew their authorisation to preform at the ancient site claiming that the concert would be at odds with the authenticity of the site.

However, Mashrou' Leila have played three previous concerts at Amman's Roman amphitheater after securing official approval.

"Informally, the story is much more problematic. We have been unofficially informed that the reason behind this sudden change of heart, few days before the concert day, is the intervention of some authorities," the band's statement read.

"We also have been unofficially informed that we will never be allowed to play again anywhere in Jordan due to our political and religious beliefs and endorsement of gender equality and sexual freedom," added the statement.

The band's lead singer, Hamed Sinno, is considered the first openly gay lead singer in an Arab musical band, and has been a vocal advocate for LGBT rights in the Middle East.

The band's songs also challenge various established norms in Arab societies, such as gender roles and sexual and religious freedoms.

The Lebanese band said the ban demonstrated that they had "thus far failed at creating a cultural environment that allows our children to speak their minds."


The band's statement urged Jordan to reconsider its decision and called on the kingdom to "choose fighting alongside us, not against us, during this ongoing battle for a culture of freedom against the regressive powers of thought control and cultural coercion."They also pledged "to never succumb to the pressure to compromise" their message or to waive their freedom of speech.

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