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July 30, 2019 11:12 am

Lebanon Festival Cancels Mashrou’ Leila Show After Religious Pressure

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

Lebanese alternative rock band Mashrou’ Leila performs during the Ehdeniyat International Festival in Ehden, Lebanon, Aug. 12, 2017. Photo: Reuters / Jamal Saidi / File.

Lebanon’s Byblos festival has canceled a concert by Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila which was set for next week after calls from church leaders who accused the group of blasphemy.

The band, which has an openly gay vocalist and has played in major cities around the world, has said it is the target of a smear campaign in Lebanon to crush freedom of expression. The musicians have received threats on social media in recent weeks.

“In an unprecedented move…the committee was forced to stop the Mashrou Leila show…to prevent bloodshed and preserve security,” the major summer music festival, in the ancient city of Byblos, said in a statement.

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