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Concert firebombed in Israeli Arab town

No injuries reported at show that prompted Islamic opposition

By Gordon Masson on 18 Sep 2018

The town of Umm al-Fahm

A concert by the Arab Israeli band, Siraj, was targeted in a drive-by firebomb attack in the northern town of Umm al-Fahm on Saturday, local news outlet , Haaretz reports.

It is believed the assailants, who hurled the firebombs from motorcycles, were opposed to the group, which has been criticised by Conservative Islamic leaders for allowing both men and women to perform on stage together.

According to various reports, Umm al-Fahm was gripped with tension after some Islamic groups denounced the show because of the mixed gender of the musicians and also because of mixed seating arrangements in the venue.

However, the Molotov cocktails aimed at the community centre hall by the motorbike assailants failed to cause any injuries or damage to the venue.

“The firebombs may not have disturbed the show, but there’s no doubt that this was a serious incident and those responsible need to be brought to justice.”

The town’s association of imams spoke out against the concert following its announcement with chairman, Sheikh Mashour Fuaz, claiming they had the right to express their opinion. “We do not support events with mixed singing by male and female singers because it contravenes sharia rules and Islamic culture and the customs on which society is built in a city like Umm al-Fahm,” Fuaz said.

The sheikh’s statement prompted heated social media debates, with some including threats of violence.

Following the firebomb attack, the band continued with the concert.

After the event, Israeli parliament member Yousef Jabareen, told news outlets, “The impressive participation of those who were there was the residents’ answer to attempts by certain parties in the city to have the show cancelled.” He added, “The firebombs may not have disturbed the show, but there’s no doubt that this was a serious incident and those responsible need to be brought to justice.”


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