Over the weekend, the popular Palestinian techno DJ and producer Sama Abdulhadi was arrested after performing near the Nabi Musa religious site. According to a report from 5 Magazine, footage from the event was shared online while she was performing, prompting those who objected to the show to head to the event. The result was reportedly a clash with attendees and the opposition which led to the party being shut down – and subsequently, Abdulhadi being arrested on December 27th.
The report states that Abdulhadi is said to have had obtained permission from local authorities to host the show. The event was not held inside the religious site itself but rather the area surrounding it. The prime minister has reportedly gotten involved and assigned an investigative body to handle the situation.
Abdulhadi is described on her website as the “first Palestinian DJ and electronic music producer.” she was given an extra fifteen days on her sentence due to a judge declaring that “techno music is not part of Palestinian heritage.” At the time of writing, it’s not clear how long her sentence is. In addition to the condemnation from the judge, the minister of religious affairs called the event “obscene.”
A video of Abdulhadi’s performance was shared on Twitter. Although it’s short, you can see her performing in the open-air space with the location tagged in the footage. Initial reporting stated that the party amassed hundreds of attendees, however, the angle of the video makes it difficult to see how many were present.
Outrage among locals as Palestinians from East Jerusalem and Arab Israelis threw a techno dance party featuring alcohol in Nebi Musa Mosque near Jericho.
Participants said they took permission from Palestinian Tourism Ministry in Ramallah. pic.twitter.com/79AWzWdJsY
— FJ (@Natsecjeff) December 27, 2020
In response to her arrest, a Change.org petition has been initiated demanding the release of Sama Abdulhadi. In its description, organizers shared a statement declaring that her arrest was illegal and that public officials did not act properly.
“Sama Abdulhadi is being made a scapegoat and held accountable for a crime that did not happen and one that she certainly did not commit,” reads a passage. “Even though the Palestinian Authority has announced that it established a committee to investigate the events following public uproar, until this moment, we have received only silence from officials, in addition to the illegal arrest of an artist without any disclosure of the details of the investigation.”
“The PA’s detention of Sama Abdulhadi to ‘tame’ public anger is an official evasion of responsibility, hiding behind Sama instead of confronting the legal crisis and accepting responsibility,” it goes on. “We call for her immediate release and respect for cultural and artistic freedom and rights by the Palestinian Authority.”
At the time of writing, close to 4,000 people have signed the petition, putting organizers just over 1,000 signatures short of their target. Those interested can learn more about the cause and add their name to the growing list of signees via Change.org.