Why did Jamal Khashoggi's fiancée ask Justin Bieber to not perform in Jeddah?
Slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's fiancée has penned an open letter to Canadian Singer Justin Bieber.
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Dear Justin… Hatice Cengice wrote in the Washington Post. Cengice was Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s fiancée. Cengice wants Canadian singer Justin Bieber to send a powerful message to the world.
WHY IS CENGICE WRITING TO BIEBER? Hatice Cengice wants the singer to cancel his December 5 performance in Saudi Arabia.
Justin Bieber is among several international artists who are all set to perform in Jeddah during the Formula One Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
WHY CANCEL? According to Cengice and Human Rights Watch, the flashy and seemingly progressive festivities and international celebrities are used by the Saudi government to ‘whitewash its abysmal human rights record’.
Formula One Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2021 begins December 5. Image Credit: formula1.com
“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 kills its critics,” Cengice wrote in the Post.
Cengice says she doesn’t want the singer, who took a stance against racism in the West, to sing songs for the murderers of her beloved Jamal. She says that Bieber’s invitation to perform comes directly from Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince, who has been accused of directing the murder of Khashoggi.
Protest demanding justice for slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Image Credit: @mercan_resifi Twitter
WHO ELSE IS PERFORMING? Justin Bieber is not the only international artist performing at the Jeddah event. A$AP Rocky, Tiesto, David Guetta and Jason Derulo are among others lined up for the mega event. Some of the celebrities on the list are not new to performing in Saudi Arabia, despite the human right concerns.
Canadian singer Justin Bieber urged to cancel Saudi concert. Image Credit: @justinbieber Twitter
PREVIOUS CONTROVERSIES: Tiesto and Mariah Carey were criticised in 2019 for performing in the Middle-Eastern country. Mariah Carey in her defence had said that her performance was ‘a positive step towards the dissolution of gender segregation’. On the other hand, David Guetta received flak for singing songs praising the Saudi King.
But there are celebrities like Emily Ratajkowski and John Cena who refused invites to perform in Saudi Arabia, citing human rights concerns. Rapper Nicki Minaj was also pressurised in 2019 to cancel her concert in Jeddah and she obliged, stating her support for women and LGBTQIA+ rights.
WHO WAS JAMAL KHASHOGGI? Jamal Khashoggi was a staunch critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Khashoggi was murdered and dismembered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. The UN and the US intelligence departments have held the State 'responsible' in the crime.
Khashoggi pictured near Saudi consulate in Istanbul before his murder. Image Credit: @mercan_resifi Twitter
On the other hand, human rights bodies and Khashoggi's fiancée Cengice have claimed that the murder was carried out on the direct orders of the Crown Prince himself.