London-born artist Dax J was sentenced in absentia for public indecency. Video footage of the DJ mixing the Muslim call to prayer at a festival in Tunisia sparked outrage from authorities.
A Tunisian municipal court handed down a one-year jail term to the Berlin-based British DJ after he played a remix of the Muslim call to prayer. Dax J was sentenced in absentia to "six months for public indecency and six months for offending public morality."
The DJ ran afoul of authorities after he played a gig for the Orbit Festival in the coastal town of Hammamet over the weekend. Although video shows the crowd enjoying the dance version of the Adhan, or call to prayer, as soon as the footage was shared on social media many Tunisians claimed to have found the musician's actions highly offensive.
Dax J allegedly received death threats after the incident and quickly left Tunisia. He issued a statement on his Facebook page saying "I want to offer my sincere apologies to anyone who may have been offended by music that I played." His Facebook page and other social media accounts appeared to have been deactivated in recent days.
Festival organizers also apologized. "Dax J had no intention of provoking your anger or offending you," staff from the techno festival wrote on Facebook.
Nightclub owners, organizers cleared
The Tunisian Ministry of Religious Affairs made it clear that foreign musicians should respect local beliefs when performing, saying: "Mocking the opinions and religious principles of Tunisians is absolutely unacceptable."
Authorities announced on Monday that they had closed the nightclub where Dax J had played until further notice.
Although Dax J was found guilty of public indecency, the court dismissed charges against the nightclub owner and the event organizers. Prosecutors said however that they plan to appeal the decision, arguing that the management should check ahead of time what artists will be playing.
es/msh (AFP, dpa)