On the same day it was announced Lady Gaga has accepted an invitation to participate in Rome's Circus Maximus, the closing event of 2011 EuroPride, comes news that her hit album Born This Way has been banned in Lebanon, reports theLos Angeles Times.
Shipments of Gaga's new album, which has topped sales charts in 21 countries, were intercepted and impounded at Beirut's international airport by Lebanese authorities late last week as potentially offensive to the country's Christian population.
"We collected the CDs on the grounds that the music was offensive to religion," says an official from the office of censorship, part of Lebanon's General Security, a branch of the Ministry of Interior. "They are still in our offices. We are still deciding what to do with them."
The Times reports that the office of censorship at Lebanon's General Security headquarters occasionally edits offensive material without issuing a complete ban and quotes a Virgin Megastore supervisor in Lebanon saying he hopes the censorship office will merely black out the titles deemed offensive, which are presumed to be "Judas" and "Bloody Mary." Both feature religious figures in their lyrics.
Christian elders are also expected to make a pronouncement on Born This Way soon. "If they are going to offend us we are going to cancel the album," says Father Abdo Abu Kassm, director of the Catholic Information Center. "We will not accept that anyone insult the Virgin Mary or Jesus or Christianity. We have dignity. Call us traditional, call us backward, call us whatever you want. We will not accept it."
Gaga is welcomed with open arms in Italy, however. David Thorne, U.S. ambassador to Italy, released a statement saying he is "very proud to have an Italian-American artist of her stature" come to the Italian capital. He also quoted U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as saying, "Human rights are gay rights and gay rights are human rights."