Elton John Concert Stirs Controversy in Morocco

Elton-JohnElton John is pushing through with a planned concert in Morocco despite opposition from the North African country’s largest recognized Islamist faction, which also happens to the kingdom’s biggest opposition block. John, an openly gay British performer, has been invited to appear at the Mawazine Festival on Wednesday, but the Justice and Development Party (PJD), a known Islamic conservative group, wants the “Candle in the Wind” singer banned for promoting homosexuality. The Islamic world generally shuns homosexuality, which is also criminalized in the African country.

PJD spokesman Mustapha Ramid said John is “famous for his homosexual behavior and for advocating it,” adding that the singer might send the wrong message to Moroccan youth.

John’s appearance has, however, received the approval of the Western-leaning government and the royal family. Fans are also eagerly awaiting John’s performance, which is seen as another test for the country known for hosting all-out parties.

Mawazine organizer El Hassan Neffali said in defending the festival’s invitation of John that “somebody’s private life is one thing, and their art or creative activities are another.”