Palestinian pop singer Bashar Murad struggles for freedom and equality on two fronts

Bashar Murad’s danceable riffs and live concerts and videos – filled with bubbles, enormous hats, and layers and layers of veils – have earned him the nickname “Palestinian Lady Gaga” from his fans. And much like Born This Way is an anthem of equality, Murad’s songs challenge conservative social norms and push for LGBTQ rights while also challenging the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.

Earlier this summer, Murad’s concert in the West Bank city of Ramallah was cancelled under threats by anti-LGBTQ activists. As an outspoken proponent of LGBTQ rights, Murad is challenging both the external conflict Palestinians face with Israel and the internal conflicts imposed by a conservative society.

This week, NPR’s Daniel Estrin speaks with Bashar Murad about his music, his activism, and how anti-LGBTQ events that unfolded during the summer have added to the complexities that can come with being a voice for both the Palestinian and the LGBTQ communities.

In participating regions, you’ll also hear a local news segment that will help you make sense of what’s going on in your community.

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