Sepultura are no strangers to trouble in the Middle East. In 2016, the Brazilian metal pioneers' show in Cairo was rolled by police over some paperwork and ambiguous "devil-worshipping" charges. Now the band is staring down a very similar situation in Lebanon. According to Albawa, Sepultura were informed by Lebanese authorities that their April 28th show scheduled in Beirut was off due to "devil worship" and "insulting Christianity." But those two charges seem like a cover for the real issue when you drill a little deeper. The primary controversy, and the root of the banning, is more likely tied to the frosty relationship between Lebanon and Israel. Sepultura filmed their iconic 1993 video for "Territory" (which you can watch below) in both Israel and Palestine, and according to Blabbermouth, travelers with Israeli stamps in their passports are barred from entering Lebanon legally. This is ironic, considering how the song "Territory" is an aggressive critique of Israeli policy.
"Basically, what we learned is that they are considered devil worshipers, that they have disrespected Christianity, and that they have performed in Israel," Skull Session, the promoter who booked the band told The New Arab. "All of which are, of course, not true." For their part, Sepultura has yet to respond to the cancellation.