A concert by a singer, an alleged LGBT+ flag-bearer, scheduled for Wednesday at an old church in eastern France has been canceled after a controversy led by local Catholic and traditionalist movements.
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Live Nation, Bilal Hassani’s tour producer, said in a statement: “We cannot let a meeting that was meant to be a moment of joy, sharing and celebration, a place of simmering tension and hatred.”
In view of the threats made against the artist and his audience, the producer decided “with regret, sadness and spite” to cancel the show scheduled for Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnes in Metz, the big city in the east of the country.
“Desecration,” the congregation Catholics of Lorraine had yelled, in the middle of Holy Week, in a message on its widely circulated blog. He demanded a prayer of reparation before the concert in front of the ancient church, which had been desecrated for 500 years and turned into an auditorium.
The next concert of the singer, a former candidate representing France at Eurovision, is scheduled for Friday in Toulouse, in the southwest of the country.
For the Aurora Loren Identity group, which has joined the protests, canceling the ceremony is a “victory.”
The Mayor of Metz, François Grosdier, replied: “Their indignation is not based on anything: Saint-Pierre-aux-Nunens has not been a church for five centuries. It is a cultural hall that is part of the Cité Musicale Metz!”
The city council member lamented that Bilal Hassani’s product “has given way to a form of intellectual terrorism at the expense of culture.” “We can love Bilal Hosni or not, what is unacceptable is that in the name of an ideology we cancel a party. It is a setback for freedom of expression and a concession to homophobic extremists.”
Ennahda’s Moselle MP, Ludovic Mendez, said he was “displeased” by the cancellation and announced that he would ask the interior minister to “dissolve the identity groups that have caused this intimidation”.
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