A major Lebanese music festival has cancelled a concert by the country’s best-known rock band, Mashrou’ Leila, “to prevent bloodshed” after church leaders accused the group of blasphemy.
The Byblos festival said it was forced to cancel the group’s performance next week on security grounds.
Critics of the band had threatened to attack the concert if it went ahead.
Mashrou’ Leila’s lead singer is openly gay and the band tackles taboos that few other Arab musicians have explored.
The Maronite Catholic Eparchy of Byblos said last week that Mashrou’ Leila’s songs “violate religious values” and demanded the gig be pulled.
Facebook users had threatened to stop the show by force, with some claiming to be “God’s Soldiers”.
Lawmakers in Byblos urged the festival’s organisers on Tuesday to pull the concert to “respect sanctities and morals”.
“In an unprecedented move… the committee was forced to stop the Mashrou’ Leila show … to prevent bloodshed and preserve security,” the festival announced just hours later.