"Mashrou’ Leila" by Tania Trabulsi / CC BY-SA 3.0

Lebanese pop band faces death threats over ‘blasphemous’ song

Jul 26, 2019

By Tim Fitzsimons

Lebanon’s best-known pop band, Mashrou’ Leila, is facing death threats from local Christian groups who say one of its songs is “blasphemous.”

Each summer, Byblos — the 7,000-year-old city in Lebanon that gave birth to the modern alphabet — plays host to the Byblos International Festival, which lights up a massive amphitheater on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea with performances by major artists; Elton John, Lana Del Rey and Jethro Tull have all recently played there.

Mashrou’ Leila, whose frontman Hamed Sinno is gay, has played the festival twice — once in 2010 and again in 2016.

But leading up to this year’s scheduled Aug. 9 performance, the band is facing the threat of violence over its song “Djin,” first released in 2015.

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