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Sepultura barred from Lebanon, accused of “devil worshipping”

By | Published on Tuesday 23 April 2019


Metal band Sepultura have been barred from entering Lebanon for a show in Beirut later this week. Reasons given for the ban include that the band have insulted Christianity, are devil worshippers and have performed in Israel. The the show’s promoters say that none of those accusations are true.

Promoters Skull Session and 2U2C expressed “shock and disbelief” at the decision, adding that they are “outraged and angry”. The company explained that the General Security department of the Lebanese government “has banned Sepultura from entering Lebanon and refused to process their artist visas”.

In a further statement, they explained: “After duly applying for artist entry visas for the band, we were informed that band members had been banned from entering Lebanon. The concert organisers were not even allowed to view the decision”.

“However”, they went on, “after enquiring before the artists’ division, we were told that the issue is delicate as it relates to insulting Christianity, that the band members are devil worshipers, that they held a concert in Israel, that they filmed a video clip supporting Israel, and that the decision was issued by the head of the General Security Forces”.

“We would like to clarify that these accusations are totally untrue”, they continued. “The band did not play in Israel. The aforementioned video clip mentions Israel’s racism without naming it … As for insulting religion, current members of Sepultura fight against all forms of corruption, and call on the world to return to goodness and nature and to reject corruption. Since it’s the nature of metal music, the band uses a violent style of expression. But they did not directly attack Christianity”.

They added: “It is a shame to see such censorship in Lebanon, a country that claims to be the only democracy in the Arab world, where freedom of thought and belief is safeguarded impartially”.

The promoters also noted that other Middle Eastern countries “that are more religiously stringent” have allowed Sepultura to perform, including Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. The band have shows in Istanbul and Dubai scheduled for next week.

Sepultura’s manager Frank Hessing has also issued a statement, saying: “The band is NOT satanic. Most of the band and crew members are Catholic. Yes, sometimes they criticise political or other injustices. That can occasionally include criticising church, companies or institutions, but not in a destructive way”.

In 2016, Sepultura had a show in Egypt shut down by authorities on the grounds that the correct permissions had not been obtained. However, at the time the lead investigator said that police were acting on a tip-off that a “satanic party” was being held.