Mohammad Assaf won again! Arab Idol star beat out the right-wing's tries to ban him from singing in Nazareth

Published April 27th, 2014 - 09:03 GMT

He beat unbeatable odds by winning the highly competitive talent show "Arab Idol" last season, and now Mohammad Assaf has scored again.

Despite strong attempts of the right-wing group Im Tirtzu to keep him from taking the stage in Nazareth, the Palestinian performer sang his heart out before 10,000 adoring fans in the Israeli city on Friday.

Haaretz.com discussed the group's disapproval of the star's entry into the country, posting, "Im Tirtzu director general Matan Peleg said an Israeli city should not give a platform to Assaf's 'agitation and sedition.' He based this accusation on statements the singer allegedly made on tour abroad in which he dedicated performances to Palestinian 'martyrs and prisoners,' and described the state of Palestine as "stretching from Rosh Hanikra to Eilat.'"

The city's mayor responded in Mohammad's favor, saying, "The political aspect is not the only aspect [Assaf] sings about. He isn't coming to free Palestine." He went on to add that this gig would benefit the relations between the nemesis neighboring countries.

Born in Misrata, Libya, Assaf grew up in the overcrowded Khan Yunis refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, one of the world’s poorest and most densely-populated places where Israel severely restricts the movement of people, goods and financial aid.

Israeli news site Ynet Assaf reported Arab-Israeli Member of Knesset and leader of the Arab party Ta'al Ahmad Tibi, after attending the Israeli concert, as saying that Mohammad "represents the quintessential Rags-to-Riches tale...He is loved by all in Nazareth and in Arab society."

The 24-year-old who has become a big name in the region recently returned to his roots to record a music video for his second song Yahalali Ya Mali, (“rightfully mine”). The clip released on April 10th does in fact promote Palestinian and Arab unity. Some have suggested his singing has done more for Palestine than politics could ever accomplish.


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