On Friday, two European DJs were called into Tunisia’s Hammamet to host a dance party for the Orbit Festival. DJ “Dax J” played a track that included the Muslim call to prayer for the partygoers. This artistic choice was not well-received by local authorities.
According to the UK Guardian, a video of the dance party went viral, angry feedback began piling up on social media, and the nightclub owner’s fortunes took a dramatic turn for the worse:
“After confirming the facts, we decided to close this nightclub” until further notice, Mnaouar Ouertani, the governor of Nabeul, told Agence France-Presse.
He said an investigation had been opened and the club’s manager detained “for violation against good morals and public outrage against modesty.”
“We will not allow attacks against religious feelings and the sacred,” Ouertani added.
Both the festival organizers and the DJ have apologized. “It was never my intention to upset or cause offense to anybody,” DJ Dax J said.
The Andalou news agency quotes Governor Ouertani vowing to use “deterrent measures” against cafes and clubs that “blatantly violate modesty” and “fail to respect religious sentiments.”
“All necessary measures will be taken to deter other cafes and nightclubs from committing the same offense,” he told Andalou. “Violators will face severe penalties.”
Ouertani said the specific charges against the nightclub owner were “offending public morality” and “showing a lack of respect for religious sentiments.” He said every club and cafe owner in the province would be “summoned by security agents today and made to comply with the law.”
“Mocking the opinions and religious principles of Tunisians is absolutely unacceptable,” declared Tunisia’s ministry of religious affairs, as quoted by the UK Daily Mail.