Saudis launch Twitter campaign to cancel music concert out of respect for regional suffering

Published December 29th, 2016 - 12:45 GMT
Saudis want organizers to cancel an unpcoming Mohammed Abdu concert in Jeddah (Wikimedia Commons)
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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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.


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