After creating an uproar by banning Lebanese band Mashrou' Leila, Jordanian authorities have reversed themselves and approved the band's concert – albeit too late for the planned April 29 concert to go on.
The original ban was issued only three days before the band was supposed to perform in Amman's Roman amphitheater.
While Amman Governor Khalid Abu Zaid has informed Mashrou' Leila that it would in fact be allowed to perform, the band said it was informed after the Tourism Ministry has closed on Thursday and that it would be impossible to make all of the necessary arrangements in time for Friday's performance.
The reversal is surprising, considering that just the day before Abu Zaid had told CNN Arabic, "we banned the concert for religious and social reasons, and because what the band offers contradicts the values of Islam and Christianity."
"We would like to congratulate the Governor of Amman for taking a first step towards us, by sending us this letter of approval from the ministry of interior, that was signed with his extension of respect. We appreciate that he is doing this, despite having told CNN two days ago that there would be no retraction, as 'policy is not a soccer game,'" the band said in a statement on Facebook. "However, the approval was sent too late for us to still be able to play the concert."
The ban had created an uproar online, with many prominent regional personalities condemning the decision, while it attracted considerable international press coverage for the Lebanese band. The intense coverage of the issue caused the hashtag " # بدنا_ليلي_في_عمان " to trend in Jordan on Twitter.
On top of being issued too late for the concert to go on, the letter from the governor did not address the allegations that the band was harmful to "national morality."
"The letter also does not retract, or even apologise for, the unfounded smear campaign that has been waged against the band in the media for the last few days," the statement said.