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Middle east

Lebanese 'funk-hop' artist mistaken for terrorist

© Twitter screen grab

Text by Marc DAOU

Latest update : 2014-01-23

A Lebanese rapper with a bushy beard was arrested and briefly detained on Wednesday in a suburb south of Beirut, just a day after a car bombing. Police mistook him for a terrorist.

In Lebanon, a bushy beard does not a terrorist make.

That is the lesson learned from the misadventures of Hussein Charafeddine, a Lebanese rapper with a shaved head and full beard who was arrested and briefly detained on Wednesday, January 22, in a suburb south of Beirut.

On high alert in the wake of a wave of car bombings and suicide attacks in the area over the past few months, the police mistook Charafeddine for a terrorist – especially because they spotted him in Haret Hreik, where Hezbollah headquarters are located. The town has been the site of two bombings since the beginning of the month, the most recent one taking place on January 21, the day before Charafeddine’s arrest.

A photo in which the musician, who uses the pseudonym Double A the Preacherman, appeared handcuffed and flanked by two police officers, was released by local media outlets, which identified him as a Salafist.

It was only when the photo started making the rounds on social networking sites that fans of his “funk-hop” group, the Banana Cognacs, learned of what happened and called for his release.

”Our brother, Double A, is not a terrorist,” read a message on the Facebook page of Charafeddine’s group. “His only crime is being a great rapper, a friend and a brother. Free Double A.”

Meanwhile, some supporters of Charafeddine have taken to their Twitter accounts, posting the hashtag #BeardedNotATerrorist.

Found to be carrying no explosives, there were no charges filed against the artist, who was subsequently released.

On his Facebook page, Charafeddine assessed the experience. “This is the frontline of ignorance,” he wrote.
 

Date created : 2014-01-23

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