Morocco’s Mawazine Festival Takes Elton John’s Side
The singer-songwriter is scheduled to perform May 26 at Mawazine Festival at OLM Souissi Rabat, Morocco. The festival, which is backed by Morocco’s King Mohammed, will feature musicians from 50 countries May 21-29 including headline performances by Harry Connick Jr., Julio Iglesias,B.B. King, Santana and Sting.
“We asked the government to exclude this person from the list of artists invited to this festival. This man – sorry, I should say this person, not this man – is known for bragging about his homosexuality,” said Mustapha Ramid, a leading parliamentarian from the opposition Islamist PJD party.
“Morocco is an Islamic state where stages should not used to allow a person with such a degree of debauchery to perform because we have to shield the young from such influences,” said Ramid.
Reuters noted that aside from John, many Islamists have criticized the festival simply on general principal because they say the event encourages “promiscuity and alcohol consumption, corrupting Islamic values.”
Mawazine World Rhythms festival director Aziz Daki defended John in an interview with Reuters, explaining that his personal life has nothing to do with his successful career over the past four decades.
“Elton John is one of the best artists in the world. He is great and extraordinary when he appears on stage. That’s why we invite him and welcome him to the Mawazine festival,” Daki said.
“The private life of a singer is not our business. We do not invite singers and artists after assessing their private lives.”
Daki added that ticket sales at the fest will prove to be the “ultimate answer” to critics. According to the Guardian, attendance at 2008’s event was estimated at 1.2 million fans.
Earlier this month the Egyptian Musicians’ Union made headlines for voting to ban John’s May 18 performance at a private event in Egypt. The union took issue with an interview the singer gave with Parade, in which John said that he believes “Jesus was a compassionate, super-intelligent gay man.”
Click here for the Reuters article.