Jordan Lifts Ban On Performance By Popular Lebanese Band

Jordan is permitting a popular Lebanese rock band to perform, lifting an earlier ban imposed amid claims the group’s songs promoting religious and sexual freedom violate local customs and religious beliefs.

Khalid Abu Zeid, a regional politician who initially announced the ban against “Mashrou Leila,” or Leila’s Project, said in a new statement that “we don’t mind if this concert takes place.” He didn’t elaborate.

The indie band, known for songs about controversial subjects, said the reversal came too late for the Jordan show to take place as scheduled on Friday.

The initial ban sparked criticism of Jordan, which presents itself as an island of relative tolerance in a turbulent region where religious fundamentalism is on the rise.

Photo: Hussein Malla/AP
During a press conference in Beirut, Lebanon

The group’s detractors apparently included both Christian and Muslim clerics and officials.