The Elton John Experience

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The cancellation of Elton John's May's concert in Egypt due to his gay identity; became an issue of international hard sell. Media like Vanity Fair, NY Daily News and Huffington Post were obviously enthused about the concert's ban. The 63 year old artist has a personal life which is perceived as contradicting the religious norms in Egypt; the thing that made The Egyptian Musicians’ Union announce earlier this month that the ' I'm Still Standing' concert by Elton John that was scheduled for May 18 has been cancelled.

 Raising public debate over the authority of state institutions to have power over the arts; a lot of people were convinced that Elton shouldn’t be performing in Egypt as he claimed candidly that he was gay and not only this, but he also said in an interview in Parade Magazine that received harsh criticism from both Christians and civil society groups that he thought Jesus was "a super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems". He also referred to the tribulations gay people face in the Middle East and he pointed out that gay women in the Middle East “are as good as dead.”

“How could we allow a gay man, who wants to ban religions, and who claimed that the Prophet Eissa was gay and calls for Middle Eastern countries to legalize homosexuality, to perform in Egypt,” said Mounir Al-Wasimi, head of the Musicians’ Union, the body with the authority to allow or ban foreign artists from performing in Egypt. Cairo musician Mohamed Abaza said that the decision of the Musicians’ Union was “normal." "Gay or not, I don’t think that’s the issue. Well, it’s an issue, but it’s not the reason for banning the concert. But if he is against our religion, our country, our customs, that’s enough for him not to perform here,” said Abaza.

Not only Elton has been under fire in the Middle East, but also global headlines have shared their wedge from his latest notorious speeches. The Catholic League's president Bill Donohue, who wasn't too pleased with John's comments, slammed the pop superstar for his "ignorance" and "intolerance". "More seriously, to call Jesus a homosexual is to label Him a sexual deviant. But what else would we expect from a man who previously said, 'From my point of view, I would ban religion completely" He added.

Brian Whitaker, author of “Unspeakable Love”, a book about dealing the state of homosexuals in the Middle East, wrote in the Guardian on May 4 that he thinks that all societies have rules, " In Arab countries, regulation is still very much focused on ‘morality’ and ensuring compliance with the expected norms of personal behavior. The enthusiasm for banning things is also part of the concept of a properly ordered society that prevails in Egypt and most of the Arab countries. It is rooted in a fear of fitna; the social discord that would supposedly ensue if people were allowed to behave more or less as they liked,” he added.

Morocco's main Islamist opposition party has also called for Elton John to be banned from performing at a festival in Rabat last month.

"We categorically reject the appearance of this singer because there is a risk of encouraging homosexuality in Morocco," the head of the Justice and Development Party (PJD) parliamentary group, Mustapha Ramid, told AFP. "The problem is not with the singer himself but the image he has in society," another leading party member, Lahcen Daoudi, added. The PJD on Thursday submitted a request to parliament to ban Elton John from performing in the Mawazine music festival that was to be staged in the Moroccan capital from May 21 to 29.

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