A concert by an Arab rock band, scheduled for the International Festival of Byblos, Lebanon, on August 9, 2019, had to be canceled at the request of the Lebanese bishops.
Fearing that “disruptive elements will infiltrate the concert hall and threaten the safety of the venues and artists,” the festival’s executive committee finally decided to cancel the Mashrou’ Leila band’s concert, explained the Lebanese French daily paper L’Orient Le Jour.
An article shared on Facebook by the lead singer of the group is the origin of the controversy. It is a photomontage in which the face of the Virgin Mary is replaced by that of the American star Madonna. According to the bishops, two of the group’s songs are also offensive to good morals and are blasphemous because they are “insulting the sacredness of Christian symbols.”
“Byblos is a fortress of civilization and intellectual finesse, not a home for deviation and depravity,” summed up a priest on Facebook after the festival’s decision.