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Last Updated: Friday, 1 September 2006, 17:30 GMT 18:30 UK
Zanzibar angry over Mercury bash
Singer Freddie Mercury of the rock group Queen in 1985
Freddie Mercury is Zanzibar's most famous son
A Muslim group in Zanzibar has protested about plans to mark the 60th birthday of the late rock legend and Queen front man Freddie Mercury.

The Zanzibar-born singer who was openly gay was renowned for his flamboyant lifestyle. He was also HIV positive.

Muslims on the Tanzanian archipelago say his lifestyle violated Islam and want Saturday's beach party cancelled.

Zanzibar outlawed gay relations in 2004, a move which attracted criticism from gay communities around the world.

The BBC's Ally Saleh in Zanzibar says it is not certain that the star ever returned to his birthplace, although he remains Zanzibar's most famous son.

International stardom

The association for Islamic Mobilisation and Propagation (Uamsho) has threatened to hold a demonstration after hearing rumours that gay tourists were on their way to the island specifically to mark the musician's birthday.

We have a religious obligation to protect morals in society and anyone who corrupts Islamic morals should be stopped
Uamsho head Abdallah Said Ali

Zanzibar's Ministry of Culture said it was aware of the issue.

Uamsho head Abdallah Said Ali said the event would send out the wrong signals.

"We do not want to give our young generation the idea that homosexuals are accepted in Zanzibar," he explained.

"We have a religious obligation to protect morals in society and anyone who corrupts Islamic morals should be stopped," he added.

Born Farrokh Bulsara to Persian parents on 5 September 1946 in Zanzibar, Freddie Mercury was educated in India before moving to the UK in 1964 where he led the international supergroup Queen to stardom.

Regions and territories: Zanzibar
18 Aug 06 |  Country profiles

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