Morocco's main Islamist opposition party reached a new peak of silliness, when it called for gay singer Sir Elton John to be banned from performing at a festival in Rabat later this month.
Sir Elton John
"We categorically reject the appearance of this singer because there is a risk of encouraging homosexuality in Morocco," the head of the Justice and Development Party (PJD) parliamentary group, Mustapha Ramid.
"The problem is not with the singer himself but the image he has in society," another leading party member, Lahcen Daoudi, added.
"Moroccan society has a negative perception of this singer and we must take it into consideration."
Young people in Fez were bemused by the call for a ban and laughed at the notion that Elton John had a negative image in the country. "In fact, very few people would know who he was. And those who do like him for his music," said Tariq (22).
The PJD on Thursday submitted a request to parliament to ban Elton John from performing in the Mawazine music festival to be staged in the Moroccan capital from May 21 to 29.
Other artists booked to apppear include Julio Iglesias, B.B. King and Carlos Santana.
Protests also greeted Sir Elton John's performance last month at an open air concert at the ancient Mayan pyramids of Chichen Itza in southeastern Mexico. However the controversy was not about John's sexual preference, but rather about the music! The 90-minute concert went ahead amidst the majestic pyramids despite indigenous leaders' complaints and an accident Thursday that saw the stage collapse, injuring three workers. Local Mayan leaders complained the concert was irreverent and out of place, and said the collapse of the stage the day before, injuring three workers, was caused by spirits upset because their gods' permission for the concert was lacking.
During his stay in Mexico John was protected by a police and military operation with hundreds of officers who also set up roadblocks at the entrances to the archeological site.
Insiders say that there is very little chance of a ban on Elton John in Morocco and that such a move would tarnish the modern image of the Kingdom.