Jesse Hughes

A leading rock musician and victim of terror is suffering major gig cancellations for daring to say that he thought Muslim employees at the targeted theater had assisted in the attack that killed 90 people.

The band that was playing the Bataclan theater in Paris during the terrorist attack last November – one of three simultaneous Islamic State (ISIS) attacks in the city that killed 130 people and wounded hundreds more – has had concerts canceled after their frontman said he saw Muslims celebrating the attack.

Eagles of Death Metal saw two major rock festivals in France pull the group from their lineup this August after lead singer Jesse Hughes told an American magazine he thought Muslim staff at the Bataclan had assisted with the attack.

“I saw Muslims celebrating in the street during the attack. I saw it with my own eyes. In real time! How did they know what was going on? There must have been coordination,” Hughes said in the interview last week in Taki, a right-wing American magazine.

“As we are in total disagreement with Jesse Hughes’s recent allegations given in an interview with an American media [outlet], both Cabaret Vert and Rock en Seine festivals have decided to cancel the band’s performance,” the two festivals said in a joint statement.

A woman is evacuated from the Bataclan theater after an Islamic terror attack in Paris. (AP/Jerome Delay)

A woman is evacuated from the Bataclan theater after an ISIS terror attack in Paris in November. (AP/Jerome Delay)

It is completely unreasonable to expect a man who survived a horrific attack in which 90 people were killed to refrain from speculating over the nature of the assault which could have killed him. Just because the Bataclan theater disputes that staff at the Bataclan could have assisted in the attack, that doesn’t mean there is no possibility the terrorists had help.

Even if Muslim staff at the Bataclan specifically were involved in the attack, something we are not suggesting is true, that would still not mean that all Muslims were terrorists or that Islam is an evil religion or any such anti-Muslim theories. For Hughes to allege they might have been involved is evidence only that he is trying to make sense of what happened at his concert.

Yet it seems his comments have been taken to show he is beyond the pale of acceptable discourse and is to be treated as a pariah. The statement put out by the rock festivals showed no understanding of why he might be nervous about Muslims and Islam, especially those Muslims working at the Bataclan, following his traumatic experience.

Instead the festivals sought to silence all discourse on the events in November.

More than 800 people were killed in ISIS attacks in 2015. The terror group released a new propaganda video last month threatening to strike at Rome, Berlin and London with even greater force than they did in Paris and Brussels.

Meanwhile, one of the victims – a musician whose concert was attacked – is being victimized again.

If anyone has a right to speak openly about their fears regarding Islamist terrorism, it’s the victims of terror attacks. Silencing and penalizing Jesse Hughes and others from speaking about their experiences, rather than showing compassion and understanding, will only foster outrage and fan the flames of intercommunal hatred.

By: The Clarion Project and United with Israel Staff

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