Words: Steve Brown
Within Temptation have cancelled a gig in Lebanon after Mashrou' Leila were pulled from a festival due to frontman Hamed Sinno being gay.
The Dutch metal band were supposed to perform at the Byblos International Festival in Lebanon this week, however, when it was revealed that Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila were pulled from the festival, Within Temptation showed solidarity and cancelled their gig.
Writing on Facebook, Within Temptation said: “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.”
Hamed Sinno – a former Attitude cover star – is openly gay and he and his bandmates have been banned from certain parts of the Middle East such as Kuwait and Jordan (twice) for promoting a message of sexual freedom that often puts them at odds with convervative Islamic societies.