Another band cancels Lebanon gig in support of Mashrou' Leila
Dutch band Within Temptation has cancelled its gig at Lebanese Festival in Byblos out of solidarity with local band Mashrou’ Leila, who festival organizers removed from the lineup citing fears of ‘bloodshed’.
The Dutch rock band were destined to play in the Christian-majority seaside town on the Wednesday of the festival.
"We have decided to cancel our show in Byblos in solidarity with Mashrou' Leila and in support of tolerance, freedom of speech and expression," they said in a statement on Facebook.
They made the decision having learnt that the festival had taken Mashrou’ Leila off the program, due to ‘security reasons after religious fanatics demanded their performance to be cancelled followed by violent threats”.
Mashrou’ Leila has been attacked by the country’s clerics of offending Christians in two of their songs.
Critics of both the band and the festival organizers continue to clash on Facebook. While thousands have spoken out in support of the group, many others continue to threaten an attack.
According to the festival’s art director, Naji Baz, "The security of our artists and audience is our absolute priority.”
"We have never before cancelled a performance... If we did it this time, albeit, with an enraged heart, it's because we absolutely had to," he said.
Mashrou’ Leila said that "sincerely regrets causing offence to anyone's beliefs" but that none of its songs are religiously offensive.