Activists block Lebanese singer from singing homophobic, sexist songs in Canada

Queer rights group Helem has succeeded in blocking Lebanese singer Mohamed Eskandar from singing homophobic and sexist songs in Canada.

The performer is scheduled to perform at concerts in Quebec and Ontario on September 1 and 2.

Helem Montreal issued an open letter condemning the invitation of the singer, requesting authorities to hold the singer, promoters, and establishments responsible for any violations of Canadian rights.

Helem states the song that "Dod el-Enef" (which means "Against Violence") is "a slogan commonly used by the LGBT community in its advocacy against discrimination". However, the title mocks the slogan with lyrics about a married couple who separate because of conflict over their effeminate son. They also point out that the video for the song is filled with negative gay stereotypes.

In the song "Joumhoureyet Qalbi" (meaning "The Republic of My Heart"), the lyrics persuade women to eschew job hunting for staying at home.

According to an Ottawa Citizen report, Helem was able to get both venues to promise in writing that Eskandar will not perform either of these songs.

Homosexuality is still illegal in Lebanon and punishable by imprisonment. Helem had previously protested a July 28 police raid on a gay cinema in Beirut in which 36 men were subjected to anal probes.

You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at twitter.com/cinecraig. You can also follow the Georgia Straight's LGBT coverage on Twitter at twitter.com/StraightLGBT.

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