Famed Lebanese singer Melhem Zein has criticized moves by two other Arab singers who condemned the violence in Syria during their performances in Morocco’s Mawazine ("Rhythms") festival that wrapped up on Saturday.
Zein’s compatriot singer Fadhel Shaker surprised the audience last week when he asked them to say “Amen” after he prayed on stage for the collapse of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Zein said Shaker should have expressed his political view at political venues not music and art festivals. He said the singer’s action was embarrassing to the Moroccan government.
Zein also slammed a similar move by Syrian female singer Asala Nasri, who has become increasingly vocal against President Assad’s regime.
Asala has denounced Lebanese securities’ role in the kidnapping of Syrian opposition members inside Lebanon and vowed never to visit the neighboring nation, whose Hezbollah movement has stood by the regime in Syria.
Zein hit back at Asala’s position saying, “Lebanon made Arabs proud in its victories and opposition and has embraced people from all over the world.”
Zein, who has expressed views favorable to Assad’s regime, had a visa application recently rejected by Qatar, a Gulf country that has strongly stood against the regime in Damascus.
“I just expressed my personal opinions, and I did not object to any country,” Zein said in reference to Qatar.
The crisis in Syria has polarized Lebanese people between those who support the opposition and those who support the regime.