Saudis launch Twitter campaign to cancel music concert out of respect for regional suffering
Saudis want organizers to cancel an unpcoming Mohammed Abdu concert in Jeddah (Wikimedia Commons)
Saudis have launched a campaign calling for the upcoming Mohammed Abdu concert in Jeddah to be cancelled, in light of recent events in the region.
The Saudi singer is popular across the Middle East, however many of his compatriots have used the Twitter hastag "cancel Mohammed Abdu’s concert in Jeddah," providing a variety of reasons for abandoning the planned event.
One Saudi journalist cited ongoing tensions between the Gulf state and Iran, which are being played out in various proxy conflicts, most particularly in Syria:
تخوض إيران ضد المملكة حربًا «عقائدية»، بينما يستبشر البعض بعودة الحفلات «الغنائية»— سامي الثبيتي #حلب (@Sthobait) December 29, 2016
أفبهذا نرجو النصر والتمكين؟!#اوقفوا_حفل_محمد_عبده_بجده
Iran is embroiled in an "ideological" war against the Kingdom, while others are happy about the return of "singing" concerts. Is this how we hope to ensure victory and consolidation?! #CancelMohammedAbdu'sConcertInJeddah
Another referenced the fighting in neighboring Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition has been carrying out a campaign against Houthi rebels:
#اوقفوا_حفل_محمد_عبده_بجده اعتقد بأن الوقت غير مناسب للمهرجانات والغناء ، شبابنا على الحدود يحاربون واخواننا في سوريا يعذبون .— درعان الدرعان (@mlta3alhdb) December 29, 2016
I don’t think the time is right for festivals and singing. Our young men are fighting at the borders and our brothers in Syria are being tortured.
Others suggested that Saudi Arabia should take a leaf out of Qatar’s book, after they cancelled national day celebrations in favor of a fundraising drive for those suffering in the Syrian city of Aleppo:
#اوقفوا_حفل_محمد_عبده_بجده دولة قطر ألغت إحتفالها بيومها الوطني وجعلته يوما يتبرع فيه شعب قطر تضامن مع حلب !— فهد الشمري #حلب (@Fahadc7s) December 29, 2016
جده تحتاج فورمات وإعادة تثبيت .
Qatar cancelled its celebrations for their national day and made it a day in which the people donate in solidarity with Aleppo. Jeddah needs formatting and resetting.
Others simply cited religious reasons for abstaining from a music concert:
#اوقفوا_حفل_محمد_عبده_بجده— عبدالرحيم آل شابل (@czF52WtQIhGQmeB) December 29, 2016
قال يزيد بن الوليديابني أمية إياكم والغناء فإنه يزيدالشهوة ويهدم المروءة وأنه لينوب عن الخمرويفعل مايفعل السُّكر
Yazid bin al-Walid (an early Islamic Caliph) said "O Beni Umayya (Umayyad tribe) beware of singing because it increases arousal, destroys virility and acts on behalf of wine, doing exactly the same things as drunkenness."
The Entertainment Commission should be aware that their work is to entertain people and not to provoke them to be immoral.
However, others have pushed for the concert to go on, arguing that everyone should be free to make their own decisions:
#اوقفوا_حفل_محمد_عبده_بجده— مشاري الغامدي (@MeshariGhamdi) December 29, 2016
كونك لا تحب ما يقدمه محمد عبده تستطيع التوجه لحفلات الشيلات أو البقاء بمنزلك، من أنت حتى تجبر الناس على رأيك ؟ .
If you don't like what Mohammed Abdu performs you can [...] stay at home, who are you to enforce your opinion on others?
In ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia, many regard singing as forbidden by Islam, and Saudis largely avoid playing music in public. The religious police enforce a tough moral code according to a strict understanding of Islamic Sharia law. Earlier this week several young people were arrested for taking part in a mixed-gender party where men and women drunk alcohol and danced to music.