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Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila to split after online harassment

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Middle Eastern indie rock band Mashrou’ Leila has announced it will disband following online abuse, drawing tributes from fans and rights activists who said it will result in the loss of a rare public voice for LGBTQ+ rights in the region.

Lead singer Hamed Sinno, who is openly gay, told Lebanese podcast “Sarde After Dinner” that the group had taken the decision after persistent harassment on social media. “It made us feel very pressured,” Sinno told the podcast. “We couldn’t continue working and creating like that.” Sinno formed the band with six others while studying at the American University in Beirut in 2008.

Mashrou’ Leila has performed around the world, with its lyrics tackling sectarianism, gender equality and homophobia, and it is well known as a champion of LGBTQ+ rights.

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