Sean Paul Performance Up In The Air Following Death Threat

Sean Paul's performance at a free concert in Male' is up in the air after a death threat appeared in a video on YouTube. The message in the video was that should Sean Paul perform in the Maldives, the world would see his "burnt and blood drenched dead body".

The 41-year-old artist is slated to perform at the free concert in the capital of The Maldives, a nation in the Indian Ocean-Arabian Sea area consisting of a double chain of 26 atolls. It is best known as a location for luxury holidays and honeymoon getaways. According to news reports, Sean Paul was invited to perform by The Maldives government.

The video, posted to YouTube on Friday morning December 25th, warned Sean Paul against coming to the Maldives.

The YouTube video message, which carried the logo of Bilad Al-Sham Media (BASM), a group that claims to consist of Maldivian Jihadists with links to Syria, warned of the entertainer's "blood-drenched dead body" if he appeared.

"It (event) is for all Muslims to Jihad in the name of Allah. Hence disbelievers like Sean Paul, who are the worst of devil's advocates deserve nothing but death," the threat continued, adding that western festivals, including music produced by Sean Paul was allegedly contributing to the destruction of The Maldives.

Islamic NGO Jamiyyathul Salaf has called on the government to cancel a New Year's eve concert with the NGO's President Abdulla bin Muhammad Ibrahim saying the show would encourage youth to remain ignorant and sinful and said the state was "investing in destruction" by funding the show.

"Instead of ensuring the youth, who are the future of this Islamic country, are educated in the ways of Islam and reformed into being religious, the wealthy are encouraging the youth to remain in their ignorant state by getting intoxicated with music and other sinful activities," said Ibrahim, adding that the sponsors of the event will "regret their actions on the day of judgement".

While the Bilad Al Sham Media logo appeared in the Youtube video, and they have condemned the concert itself as an "ideological attack" on the youth, the group was quick to distance itself from the threat, supporting the governments suggestion that it was most likely a hoax designed to hurt the country's reputation. The Syrian-based jihadi group has accused the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party of being behind the threat.

"Anything released by Bilad Al Sham Media will be done through our official Facebook page or twitter account and no one should accept anything from any other source claiming to be from us" read a post on the groups Facebook page.

A Twitter account allegedly belonging to BASM also denied being behind the threat, revealing in a tweet: "We would clearly like to announce that our media have nothing to do with the Sean Paul death threatening video. Probably MDP behind this."

Despite assurances from tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb that the concert would continue, Islamic minister Dr Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed has criticised the decision to hold the event. Similarly, Adhaalath Party MP Anara Naeem and religious NGO Jamiyyathul Salaf have since spoken out against the concert.

A statement released today from the President's Office which is also supported by the police has said it believes the threat to be a local hoax designed to damage the country's reputation.

"The investigation has revealed that the threat is designed to dissuade visitors, create an atmosphere of fear and disappoint the many thousand fans of Mr. Sean Paul who eagerly await the landmark concert in the capital, Male'.

"However, local authorities will take every possible measure to ensure the safety of Mr. Sean Paul and all his adoring fans in the Maldives, to ensure that the concert is a resounding success."

"The threat is also aimed at tarnishing the longstanding reputation of the Maldives as a destination of peace, security, and tranquility".

The Tourist Arrival Countdown Show was organised as part of the government's tourism promotion efforts. The concert is due to be held on of December 31st and will feature a number of local artists.

"We will not give into threats! The show wil go on, it is sad to see the level people fall, every time we try to promote Maldives and the youth" Tourism Minister Ahmed Adheeb said in response.

Local Police issued a press release assuring the public that appropriate security measures would be taken and that a security plan, which includes blocking traffic in areas adjacent to the stadium, has been formulated. They also expressed confidence they can assure the safety of all concert goers based on their experience of overseeing security at international football matches at the Galolhu Stadium.

Sean Paul's response has been to thank the people of the Maldives for inviting him to perform, noting that he was aware of the concerns raised by some ahead of the concert.

A message posted on the singer's official Facebook page read:

"I have felt the love and support from many Maldivian citizens looking forward to the concert, I have also heard the concerns of some citizens regarding the concert and the concerns of my fellow Jamaicans. During this very holy season for people of all faiths, I pray for peace. It is because I have the utmost respect for various religions and cultures that I have sought to travel the world to learn and to share, I support freedom of expression within whichever context best suits you and do not judge others based on their religious beliefs.”

The singers team appear to be undecided about whether his performance at the New Year’s Eve event would go ahead at this time, but his publicist, Carlette DeLeon said that a decision can only be made after the talks between the Maldivian government and the artist's management team have taken place.

“We are aware of the developing situation. We are currently in contact with all related parties concerning the concert to address the matter. No further details are available at this time”.

A concert featuring R&B singer Akon in 2010 was cancelled, with the event's managers citing technical and security concerns.


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