Rabat – Moroccan singer Saad Lamjarred announced his return to the stage in late November, but his upcoming concert in Saudi Arabia’s capital city, scheduled for December 18, has not been well received by all of the kingdom’s citizens.
The hashtag “we do not want Saad Lamjarred in Riyadh” began trending on Twitter after Saudi Arabia’s Chairman of General Authority for Entertainment Turki Al Sheikh shared the promotional poster for the music festival ‘Mawssim Riyadh.’
Other performers at Mawssim Riyadh include Lebanese singer Myriam Fares and a Kuwaiti singing group named “Firqat Mayami,” or Miami Band in English.
Some Saudi Twitter users expressed their disgust with the Moroccan pop star’s history of sexual assault. Lamjarred has a long history of rape allegations dating back to 2010, with the star serving prison time in France in 2017 and 2018. After completing his sentences, he was unable to leave France until August 2019.
“All three of their names all start with the letter m,” one user tweeted in Arabic in response to Turki Al Sheikh’s announcement. “Miami, Myriam Fares, and mughtasib.”
‘Mughtasib’ means ‘rapist’ in Arabic.
Other users paid no mind to Lamjarred’s tainted reputation.
“Saudi doors are open to all artists without exception,” one person tweeted in a welcoming message to the three concert headliners.
Lamjarred has also found himself at the receiving end of multiple plagiarism accusations since departing France.
In early November, Youtube removed the music video of his song “Ensay” (Forget) due to copyright infringement. In October, Youtube removed his music video “Salam” after Moroccan artist Hicham Telmoudi accused Lamjarred of plagiarism. A month prior, Lebanese singer Joe Raad claimed that Lamjarred copied his style in the music video for “Lmaallem.”
Despite Lamjarred’s high-profile convictions and controversies, he remains a prominent figure in the Arabic-speaking world.