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

U.S. university in Qatar cancels Lebanese band talk after anti-gay backlash

Feb 4, 2020

By Alexander Cornwell

An American university canceled an event at its Qatar campus featuring a prominent Middle East band whose singer is openly gay, after an online backlash in the conservative Gulf Arab state sparked safety concerns.

Members of Lebanese indie rock band Mashrou’ Leila were scheduled to take part in a discussion about “media revolutions in the Middle East” at Northwestern University’s Qatar campus on Tuesday.

But after hostile online comments against Mashrou’ Leila’s appearance, Northwestern said it had mutually agreed with the band to move the event to its U.S. campus.

“The decision to relocate was made out of abundance of caution due to several factors, including safety concerns for the band and our community,” Northwestern’s Director of Media Relations Jon Yates told Reuters by email.

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