New call to ban Elton John

Hot on the heels of efforts by the musicians' union to stop Elton John performing in Egypt because of his sexuality and his views on religion, the Moroccan Justice and Development Party has got in on the act too.

The Islamist movement wants to ban him from the Mawazine Festival in Rabat on May 26, fearing that this would pose "a risk of encouraging homosexuality in Morocco".

However, the festival's organisers are insisting that his performance will go ahead.

"At the Mawazine festival we invite artists on the basis of the quality of their performance on stage and according to their artistic career", artistic director Aziz Daki told AFP, adding that Elton John is "one of the world's top pop singers and composers". He has "many fans in Morocco and "his private life is none of our business".

Meanwhile, a group of British academics has written to Elton Johnurging him to cancel a scheduled performance in Israel next month. "Political or not political, when you stand up on that stage in Tel Aviv, you line yourself up with a racist state," they wrote.

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 12 May 2010.