Jordan bans Lebanese band, says songs contradict religion

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.