Following his pledge to sing I Hate Israel at Morocco’s Mawazine world music festival, concert organizers said Egyptian crooner Shaaban Abdel Rahim, known as Chaaboula, “will not be performing” at the international event that is also featuring global music stars Alicia Keys, Justin Timberlake and Ricky Martin.
In a statement issued to The Algemeiner, PR Media, the public relations agency for Maroc Cultures Association, which organizes the Mawazine Festival – Rhythms of the World, offered no further details, and then expressed a philosophy of diversity.
A spokesman for the group said that Chaaboula was ultimately “never contracted” for the festival, which has recently taken down his artist page and biography that had been posted on their website.
In its statement, the festival organizers said, “Whether from the Muslim, Christian, Jewish religion or any other beliefs … artists celebrate and perform in perfect harmony during the 9 days in Rabat to share the same messages of peace, openness, tolerance, diversity and respect for each other’s beliefs. Every edition is the witness of people from different countries, different races, nationalities and convictions joined by their love and dedication for music and art.”
“As far as the Mawazine Festival is concerned, and since its inception in 2001, Mawazine has been constantly promoting and sharing diversity by offering multi-cultural lineups.”
“A simple festival in its early stages, Mawazine Rhythms of the World, has become an international event transmitting, through music and art, the universal and fundamental values of tolerance and respect,” the statement said.
Arabic entertainment news site FilFan cited the performer as saying that he planned to wear a costume with the colors of the Egyptian flag and would also sing his ode to former Egyptian defense minister, now presidential candidate, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, We Love Sisi.
Chaaboula told FilFan, it’s “an honor for me to be the only Egyptian singer in the festival this year, it is the first time that I have taken part in such a big event.”
The Algemeiner reported his planned play list on Sunday, prompting a major human rights group to call on the international music stars in the festival to pressure the organizers to remove Chaaboula from their line-up.
On Sunday, Rabbi Abraham Cooper of The Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Algemeiner that he hoped the other musicians at the festival used their stage time to promote peace, rather than hatred.
“Remember that Alicia Keys delivered a message of peace last summer in Tel Aviv, despite the BDSers hypocritical hysteria,” Rabbi Cooper said referring to anti-Israel ‘boycott, divestment and sanctions’ activists who tried to pressure Keys to cancel her performance.
“I hope she and the other western talent urge the organizers to make the festival a hate-free zone and that they counter the anti-Israel hate with their music,” the rabbi said.