It’s hard to see why Justin Bieber ever agreed to headline a December 5 concert in Saudi Arabia that human rights activists say will help “restore the reputation” of a leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and a regime “that is killing its critics. , ”Including the murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Bieber or his people should have remembered that Niki Minaj knew that performing in Saudi Arabia was highly undesirable and, as is known, refused to perform there in 2019. It is also difficult to understand why someone did not inform Bieber that Biden in February, the administration released a US intelligence report on bin Salman’s involvement in the Khashoggi assassination in Istanbul in 2018.
Bieber inexplicably agreed to speak, and now he faces international outrage on social media, from human rights groups and from Khashoggi’s fiancée, Hatice Cengiz.
You might think that he has enough common sense and disgust to make this decision on his own. What is he thinking about?
– Dr. CAM #ERANow # VoteBlue2022 (@camcath) November 22, 2021
On Saturday, Cengiz wrote an open letter to the Washington Post urging the pop singer to cancel the concert.
“Do not sing for the killers of my beloved Jamal,” wrote Cengiz. “Please speak up and condemn his killer, Mohammed bin Salman. Your voice will be heard by millions. “
Cengiz said it is likely that Bieber received a personal invitation from bin Salman himself, because “nothing significant” in Saudi Arabia happens without his consent. “This is a unique opportunity to send a powerful message to the world that your name and talent will not be used to restore the reputation of a regime that is killing its critics,” Cengiz added.
Bieber, who is Canadian, is among a group of artists to perform as Saudi Arabia hosts the Formula 1 Saudi Arabia Grand Prix in Jeddah, CNN and other agencies reported. Other artists include ASAP Rocky, David Guetta and Jason Derulo.
Billboard ads in Los Angeles were posted this week condemning Bieber’s actions, TMZ reported. Advertisements were also placed on the side of the truck as it drove through downtown Los Angeles, and one point was parked in front of the Microsoft Theater, which hosted the American Music Awards on Sunday night.
Human Rights Watch also disagreed with Bieber’s participation in the “reputation laundering” event, saying that “Saudi Arabia has a track record of using celebrities and major international events to distract attention from widespread abuses,” CNN reported.
Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabian US resident who wrote articles for the Washington Post criticizing the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, was killed and dismembered at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. Khashoggi went to the consulate to collect documents for his upcoming wedding with Cengiz.
A US intelligence report released in February said bin Salman approved the operation, CNN reported. Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry, in turn, issued a statement saying it “completely rejects the negative, false and unacceptable assessment in the report regarding the Kingdom’s leadership.”
Whatever the Saudi government says, Bieber could consider the example of Minaj. In July 2019, the rapper heard international outcry over her plans to perform in Saudi Arabia at the Jeddah World Fest and withdrew.
Social media critics, including the Federation for Human Rights, said her arrival in Saudi Arabia would run counter to her support for women’s rights and her participation in New York’s gay pride month celebrations. Saudi Arabia is known for its repressive views and policies against women and the LGBT community.
“While I do not want to do anything other than presenting my show to fans in Saudi Arabia, after learning about the issues better, I believe it is important for me to be clear about my support for women’s rights, the LGBTQ community and freedom of expression. Minaj said in a statement.