ADDED ON: 09/15/2019

Death threats ‘broke my heart’ says popular Lebanese band singer

09/12/2019 | Reuters

The lead singer of one of the Middle East’s most popular bands said on Thursday he was heartbroken by rising homophobia in Lebanon, after death threats stopped him performing last month. Organisers of the Byblos International Festival – one of the largest in Lebanon – said indie rock band Mashrou’ Leila’s slot was axed “to prevent bloodshed and preserve security” after a church said their songs violated religious values. “There were Facebook pages and WhatsApp groups that were made so that people can start making inventories of what artillery they had at their disposal,” Hamed Sinno, the band’s openly gay frontman, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “The plan was to go down there and start shooting people … You can’t possibly guarantee the audience’s security when the threats get that serious,” he said by phone from New York, ahead of a U.S. tour starting later this month.

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