Elton John faces Egyptian ban

The Egyptian musicians' union is seeking to prevent Elton Johnfrom performing at a private concert in Egypt on May 18, because of his sexuality and his views on religion.

Mounir al-Wasimi, head of the musicians' union, told the German news agency: "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?"

Wasimi says the union – which is the only body "authorised to allow performances by foreign singers in Egypt" – is "coordinating" with the authorities to ban the concert.

Elton John is also scheduled to perform at the Mawazine Festival in Morocco on May 26, but there appear to have been no strong objections to that.

In an interview with The Observer in 2006, Elton John said:

"From my point of view I would ban religion completely, even though there are some wonderful things about it. I love the idea of the teachings of Jesus Christ and the beautiful stories about it, which I loved in Sunday school and I collected all the little stickers and put them in my book. But the reality is that organised religion doesn't seem to work. It turns people into hateful lemmings and it's not really compassionate."

Last February, he told Parade magazine:

"I think Jesus was a compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems. On the cross, he forgave the people who crucified him. Jesus wanted us to be loving and forgiving. I don't know what makes people so cruel. Try being a gay woman in the Middle East – you're as good as dead." 

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 2 May 2010.