RELIGION

Jordan bans Lebanese band, says songs contradict religion

  • FILE: In this Friday, Sept. 14, 2012 file photo, Hamed Sinno, 24, lead singer and song writer of the Lebanese group Mashrou' Leila performs with the band in the ancient Roman amphitheater in the Jordanian capital Amman. The popular Lebanese rock band says Jordanian authorities have banned it from performing again because its songs promote religious and sexual freedom. (AP Photo/Diaa Hadid)

    FILE: In this Friday, Sept. 14, 2012 file photo, Hamed Sinno, 24, lead singer and song writer of the Lebanese group Mashrou' Leila performs with the band in the ancient Roman amphitheater in the Jordanian capital Amman. The popular Lebanese rock band says Jordanian authorities have banned it from performing again because its songs promote religious and sexual freedom. (AP Photo/Diaa Hadid)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Friday, Sept. 14, 2012 photo, Arab fans of the Lebanese group Mashrou Leila' cheer as the band performs in the ancient Roman amphitheater in the Jordanian capital Amman. The popular Lebanese rock band says Jordanian authorities have banned it from performing again because its songs promote religious and sexual freedom. (AP Photo/Diaa Hadid, File)

    FILE - In this Friday, Sept. 14, 2012 photo, Arab fans of the Lebanese group Mashrou Leila' cheer as the band performs in the ancient Roman amphitheater in the Jordanian capital Amman. The popular Lebanese rock band says Jordanian authorities have banned it from performing again because its songs promote religious and sexual freedom. (AP Photo/Diaa Hadid, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE: In this Friday, Sept. 14, 2012 file photo, Hamed Sinno, 24, lead singer and song writer of the Lebanese group Mashrou' Leila performs with the band in the ancient Roman amphitheater in the Jordanian capital Amman. The popular Lebanese rock band says Jordanian authorities have banned it from performing again because its songs promote religious and sexual freedom. (AP Photo/Diaa Hadid)

    FILE: In this Friday, Sept. 14, 2012 file photo, Hamed Sinno, 24, lead singer and song writer of the Lebanese group Mashrou' Leila performs with the band in the ancient Roman amphitheater in the Jordanian capital Amman. The popular Lebanese rock band says Jordanian authorities have banned it from performing again because its songs promote religious and sexual freedom. (AP Photo/Diaa Hadid)  (The Associated Press)

A popular Lebanese rock band says Jordanian authorities have banned them from performing because their songs promote religious and sexual freedom.

Jordan's Antiquities Department initially told Mashrou' Leila ("Night Project") it could not perform at a Roman Theater in the capital Amman because the show contradicts the venue's "authenticity."

However, Amman governor Khalid Abu Zeid told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the group was banned because its songs "contradict" religious beliefs.

The decision could prove embarrassing for Western ally Jordan. The kingdom portrays itself as an island of tolerance in a region where fundamentalist Islam is on the rise.

The band has performed three times before at the Roman Theater.

Guitarist Firas Abou Fakher says the group has become "large enough" to make it a target for political attacks.