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Muslims try to
stop party commemorating Freddie Mercury's 60th birthday

Muslims try to
stop party commemorating Freddie Mercury's 60th birthday

Freddy_mercury_statue_wiki_

A Zanzibar celebration to commemorate what would have been the 60th birthday of the Tanzanian island's most famous native, Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, has come under condemnation by local conservative Muslims.

A Zanzibar celebration to commemorate what would have been the 60th birthday of the Tanzanian island's most famous native, Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, has come under condemnation by local conservative Muslims.

A Zanzibari Muslim group has complained that the gay singer's flamboyant lifestyle offended Islam and brought shame upon the island and that the September 2 celebration must therefore be stopped.

"Associating Mercury with Zanzibar degrades our island as a place of Islam," the Association for Islamic Mobilization and Propagation said in a letter to the archipelago's culture ministry, Agence France-Presse reported.

"Allowing such a function for a person known outside Zanzibar as a homosexual tarnishes the name of Zanzibar," the letter continued.

There was no immediate response from the government, AFP reported.

Event organizer Simai Mohamed Saidi, who runs Mercury's, a Queen-themed restaurant and club on the waterfront, said he would go ahead with the party despite the complaint.

He defended the internationally famous rock star, who died of AIDS complications in 1991, and suggested that he would launch a counterdrive and speak with officials about promoting Mercury's link with Zanzibar to promote tourism.

Born Farrokh Bulsara on September 5, 1946, to ethnic Persian parents in British civil service in Zanzibar, the future star soon left the island for school in India and lived in Britain much of his life.

A 2004 tourist boycott urged by the British gay rights group OutRage! over homophobic legislation was condemned by Zanzibar tourism officials, who said it would only plunge residents deeper into poverty. Zanzibar remains a popular tourist destination for gays from South Africa, despite the oppressive antigay laws. (Hassan Mirza, Gay.com/U.K.)

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