AceShowbiz-Mariah Carey has infuriated the sister of a feminist activist jailed in Saudi Arabia by agreeing to perform in the conservative Muslim state.
The “Touch My Body” hitmaker is due to perform alongside DutchDJ Tiesto, andSean Paulin the controversial kingdom on Thursday, January 31, as part of the entertainment for the country’s inaugural European Tour golf tournament, the Saudi International.
Mariah’s gig has sparked anger among critics of the Saudi regime and its de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has been accused of planning assassinations, and violating human rights by imprisoning and torturing dissidents.
Alia al-Hathloul, whose sister Loujain was incarcerated for women’s rights activism last year, tweeted Mariah highlighting her sibling’s plight.
“Hi @MariahCarey,” she wrote. “Remember, thanks to my sister @LoujainHathloul, you able to perform in Saudi Arabia. I wish she can attend your concert. But she’s locked behind bars because she tried to improve women’s condition. Don’ (sic) forget to thank her on stage.”
Loujain, 29, is a leading campaigner for liberalising her homeland’s strict Islamic laws. Although the country has now opened up by hosting pop concerts and sports events, she was detained last May and has reportedly been subjected to torture including beating, electric shocks and waterboarding.
Egyptian-American journalist Mona Eltahawy also tweeted Mariah to highlight Loujain’s case, accusing the Crown Prince of ordering her torture.
The star’s concert plans also came in for criticism due to the controversy over Mohammed’s alleged involvement in the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and Saudi armed forces’ involvement in the civil war neighbouring Yemen. Her representatives did not respond to a request for comment.
After the writer’s death in October stars including wrestler turned actor John Cenaand Gerard Butlercancelled trips to Saudi Arabia, however theBlack Eyed Peas,Enrique Iglesias,Jason DeruloandDavid Guettadefied calls to cancel gigs at the Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix.
Last week Saudi officials announced their hopes to attract more acts to perform in their country, includingJay-Z,DJ Khaled, as well as comedians Chris Rockand Trevor Noah.