Elton John’s gig sparks conflict

London: A concert by British pop star Sir Elton John has sparked outrage among Morocco`s anti-gay conservatives and tested the limits of the country`s modernisation drive.

Islamists in the North African kingdom were furious at the gay pop star`s visit, while the royal palace, government and his many fans backed his appearance.

Authorities had stepped up security with thousands of police and plainclothes officers patrolling the concert.

Despite calls from The Justice and Development Party, or PJD, Morocco`s largest authorised Islamist group, for the show to be stopped, no violence was reported.

Mustapha Ramid, a leader and spokesman for the PJD, the country`s biggest opposition party, said that homosexuality was against Muslim values, and he feared the British singer would "encourage the phenomenon" and be a bad influence for Moroccan youth.

"This singer is famous for his homosexual behaviour and for advocating it," The Telegraph quoted Ramid as saying.

"We`re a rather open party, but promoting homosexuality is completely unacceptable," he added.

Moroccan officials, however, dismissed the calls to ban Sir Elton from performing.



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