France investigates the Catholic mobilization against a concert by an LGTBI singer | Entertainment | The USA Print


An investigation for “threats” and “incitement to hatred” has been opened in France after the cancellation of the Bilal Hassani Eurovisual concert in Metz, in the east of the country. The performance, scheduled for Wednesday in a church converted into a performance hall, the former Saint-Pierre -Church of Aux-Nonnains, was finally canceled after a controversy within the Catholic and traditionalist movements of the town, which denounced the which they consider a “desecration” during Holy Week.

Catholic and traditionalist movements in the town denounced a “desecration” during Holy Week

“We cannot allow a date that was meant to be a time of joy, sharing and celebration to become a place of heightened tension and malevolence,” production company Live Nation said, while Culture Minister Rima Abdul Malak said. , said she was “shocked” by the cancellation. “In the face of extremism, calls for hatred, violence, culture must continue to be a space for freedom and emancipation,” she wrote on Twitter.

The threats directed at the 23-year-old singer, an LGBT icon in France and former representative of her country at Eurovision, led the Metz prosecutor’s office to open a judicial investigation that points to acts of “incitement to hatred” and “commission of a crime or misdemeanor”, “due to sexual orientation.

Bilal Hassani during dress rehearsals for the 64th Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) semi-final at Expo Tel Aviv 2019


The Stop Homophobia and Mousse associations have also filed a complaint against the Civitas association of traditionalist Catholics for discrimination based on gender identity.

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The right-wing mayor of Metz, François Grosdidier, regretted that the producer of Bilal Hassani’s tour had given in “to a form of intellectual terrorism, to the detriment of culture.”

Despite the cancellation, some 150 people gathered in Metz on Wednesday night in support of Bilal Hassani chanting “No looks in our neighborhoods, no neighborhood for looks!” Among them, members of the local associations Couleurs Gaies, Les Effrontées 57 as well as the local sections of the NPA and the Permanent Revolution.

Opposed to this concert, the Lorraine Catholique collective had shouted “desecration”, in the middle of Easter, in a widely circulated message on their blog. Supported by Civitas, he asked for a reparation prayer before the concert, in front of the old church desecrated for 500 years.

“In Saint-Pierre-Aux-Nonnains there is no cross or bell tower but it is still a ‘basilica’, therefore it is a church”

For the identity group Aurora Lorraine, which joined the protests, the cancellation of the concert is “a victory.” “It is the result of our commitment, for us it is above all a message of hope and motivation,” Léo, 23, co-founder of Aurora Lorraine, told AFP, declining to give his last name.

“There’s a certain ethic to respect when you’re putting on concerts in a church,” he continued. “If the concert had been held in a church with a cross and a bell tower, it would have shocked everyone! In Saint-Pierre-Aux-Nonnains, there is nothing of the kind, but the building is called all the same ‘basilica’, therefore it is a church.”

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In December 2022, 11 people who had participated in this type of cyberbullying were sentenced in Paris to suspended sentences of between three and six months in prison.