Zanzibar Muslims Shun Freddie Mercury
Conservative Muslims on the island chain of Zanzibar are extremely unhappy that a local restaurant owner who runs a Freddie Mercury-themed club and cafe there wants to celebrate the late Queen frontman's 60th birthday with a beach party.
They are asking the cultural ministry of Tanzania, where the semi-autonomous chain of islands is located, to ban the bash:
"'There are people claiming that Freddie Mercury is a Zanzibari but he grew up outside Zanzibar and then changed his name. Associating Mercury with Zanzibar degrades our island as a place of Islam,' UAMSHO chief Abdallah Said Ali wrote, adding that the singer was known to have been homosexual, died of AIDS and had lived a wild life many Muslims would condemn. 'Allowing such a function for a person known outside Zanzibar as a homosexual tarnishes the name of Zanzibar. Let us protect our good culture.'"
Gay sex is illegal in Zanzibar, punishable by 25 years in prison.