Egypt's Salafist Nour Party calls for ban on Lebanese band Mashrou' Leila after 'LGBT flag incident'

Ahram Online , Monday 25 Sep 2017

The parliamentary bloc of Egypt’s ultra-conservative Salafi Nour party said it will submit to the Eygptian parliament an early day motion (EDM) that will call for the banning of the Lebanese music group Mashrou' Leila after the displaying of an LGBT flag by fans at a concert held in Cairo last week.

In an official statement on Sunday evening, the party said its parliamentary bloc deputy, Mohamed Salah Khalifa, will submit the EDM to Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, as well as the culture and tourism ministers.

The party described the gesture by a “group of homosexuals as overt and provocative,” calling on the government to define who was behind such "unfortunate acts which have impinged Egyptians."

Khalifa also questioned the authority which had allowed the band to perform the concert.

“The Lebanese band is known for its indecent acts. Several countries have banned them from entry, and Egypt should have banned them from entry likewise,” he said.

“The party refuses any attempt to disrupt the values and manners of Egyptian society, on any reasonable grounds,” said Khalifa, who also called on the government to hold certain officials responsible.

The concert, which was held on Friday in Cairo Festival City's music park in New Cairo, drew an audience of over 25,000.

It has stirred a wave of criticism on social media after a group of fans raised the rainbow flag, a symbol of LGBT pride.

The band has performed several shows in Cairo over the past years.

Following the concert, pictures of the fans embracing the flag circulated widely on social media and were picked on by some TV talk show hosts who denounced the incident and call for a ban on the popular Lebanese group from performing in the country.

Several presenters have decried that the indie band’s lead singer, Hamed Sinno, is himself an open homosexual who adovcates for gay rights in the region.

Without commenting on the controversy, Sinno shared on Sunday a laugh with his friends and followers on his Facebook page at a the Egyptian Al-Bawaba website report that claimed that one of the band’s members was arrested by authorities for "indecent acts."

The report, which also aired on private Egyptian news channel LTC, said that a female dancer was arrested by the vice police in Alexandria, after she was mistaken as a band member.

There has been no official decision to ban the group from performing in Egypt, although officials from the Egyptian Musicians Syndicate have hinted in phone interviews with several channels that such an action would soon take place.

There are no official figures on the number of homosexuals in Egypt.

Same-sex consensual homosexual conduct is not explicitly criminalised by Egyptian law, nonetheless, homosexuals have been arrested and punished in the past under several laws, including debauchery and violating public morality.

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