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Elton John concert banned in Egypt

entertainment Updated: May 03, 2010 19:41 IST

DPA
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eltonEgypt's musician's union Sunday rejected plans for British singer Elton John to perform a private concert scheduled for May 18, because of his "controversial remarks attacking religions".

"How do we allow a gay, who wants to ban religions, claimed that the prophet Eissa (Jesus) was gay and calls for Middle Eastern countries to allow gays to have sexual freedom," head of the Egyptian Musician Union, Mounir al-Wasimi said.

The pop superstar, 63, stirred controversy after his remarks to US celebrity news magazine Parade in February, where he said "Try being a gay woman in the Middle East - you're as good as dead", after saying he believed Jesus was "gay".

Al-Wasimi said that he has begun coordinating with security bodies to ban John's concert, saying that the union is the only body "authorised to allow performances by foreign singers in Egypt".

In 2008, Elton John performed in the United Arab Emirates to a crowd of more than 13,000 fans.

Although some human rights activists claim homosexuality is spreading in Egypt, the topic is a taboo in the country. In 2008, a lesbian scene in an Egyptian film set in Cairo's slums caused an uproar.

In 2001, police raided a "gay" floating disco in Cairo. Around 20 of the 52 arrested were jailed for "habitual debauchery" and "obscene behaviour".