A Lebanese rock band was told they could never perform in Jordan again because the lead singer is gay and they believe in religious and sexual freedom.
Mashrou’ Leila was scheduled to perform in a Roman amphitheater in Amman on Friday (29 April).
The band said the official explanation was that their ‘performance would have been at odds with what the ministry of tourism viewed as the “authenticity of the site”.’
‘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 said.
‘Our understanding is that said authorities have pressured certain political figures and triggered a chain of events that ultimately ended with our authorization being withdrawn.
‘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.’
Amman governor Khalid Abu Zeid told the Associated Press the group had been banned because its songs ‘contradicted’ religious beliefs.
Hamed Sinno, the lead singer, is openly gay and has spoken out frequently on LGBTI issues in the Middle East.
The band has pleaded with the Jordanian government to ‘reconsider its stance’.
Many fans of the band spoke out against the decision.
— Sarah™ (@SarahIBSais) 26 April 2016
Some days ago I tweeted how proud I was that Jordan is finally moving forward. I take that back. #بدنا_ليلي_في_عمان
— Farah (@farahalnaber) 26 April 2016
— Zeyad Salem (@Zeyadsalem) 26 April 2016