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Lebanon music festival cancels show after Christian pressure

Posted at 6:34 AM, Jul 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-30 09:34:03-04

BEIRUT (AP) — Organizers of a multi-day Lebanese music festival say they are cancelling a planned concert by a popular Mideast rock band whose lead singer is openly gay.

The move comes following calls by some Christian groups for the performance to be scrapped, calling the band’s songs an insult to Christianity.

The concert by Mashrou’ Leila has been at the center of a heated debate about freedom of expression after church leaders set off a storm of indignation. The calls were followed by online threats suggesting that the concert would be stopped by force.

The group was scheduled to perform in the coastal city of Byblos on Aug. 9.

The organizers issued a statement Tuesday saying they were forced to stop the show “to prevent bloodshed and safeguard peace and stability.”