Within Temptation Cancel Gig To Protest Violent Religious Threats Against Local Band
Within Temptation have cancelled a show at the Byblos International Festival in Lebanon in solidarity with local band Mashrou’ Leila – a group who not only comment on their country’s social, religious and political issues in their music, but also have LGBTQ+ members.
The Dutch metallers were due to play the event on August 7 (while Mashrou’ Leila were scheduled to perform on August 9), but then found out that the Lebanese band were “pulled from the festival according to the festival committee due to security reasons after religious fanatics demanded their performance to be cancelled followed by violent threats”.
In solidarity with Mashrou’ Leila, “and in support of tolerance, freedom of speech and expression”, Within Temptation will no longer be performing at the event.
According to Amnesty International, the protests against Mashrou’ Leila were started on July 22 via a statement from church leaders from the Maronite Catholic Eparchy of Byblos calling the band’s songs “offensive to religious and humanitarian values and Christian beliefs”.
Amnesty had rallied for the performance to go ahead, writing: “Lebanese authorities, and in particular the Ministry of Interior, must protect the worldwide famous Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila from a mounting hate campaign and ensure the band, known for songs tackling social issues in Arab societies such as homophobia, patriarchy and corruption, are able to perform in safety and security.”
Read Within Temptation’s statement below:
“With a heavy heart we must inform you of the following:
“As you know, we were scheduled to play the Byblos Festival in Lebanon on August 7th. We have found out that another band called Mashrou’ Leila was pulled from the festival according to the festival committee due to security reasons after religious fanatics demanded their performance to be cancelled followed by violent threats. Apart from the fact that Lebanese authorities at this moment are not able to provide artists the security to perform in peace, we have decided to cancel our show in Byblos in solidarity with Mashrou’ Leila and in support of tolerance, freedom of speech and expression.
“For you, our fans in Lebanon, it hurts to make this decision. Our last show in Lebanon is still very vivid in our minds and hearts. We are looking forward to better days on which we will return to you in Lebanon.”
Of course, this isn’t the only instance of a metal band supporting the LGBTQ+ community of late: last week, Rammstein members kissed onstage in Russia to show defiance towards the country’s anti-LGBT+ policies.
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