Beirut nightclub The Gärten was recently shut down by government officials after a DJ played Quran verses during a set.
The venue was ordered to close after video footage of Acid Pauli playing verses from the Quran hit the internet.
Governor Judge Ziad Chebib, who ordered the shutdown, said The Gärten was “lacking proper registration and promoting material that offends religious beliefs.”
The club has since responded to the shutdown with a detailed post on its official Facebook page.
“The video that was circulated was shot 5 weeks ago and not during the Holy month of Ramadan,” said the statement. (The initial reports of the incident indicated that the video was shot during Ramadan, which this year runs from 15th May through 14th June; Acid Pauli’s most recent performance at The Gärten took place 14th April, according to an event listing on Resident Advisor.) “This does not justify what happened,” continued the statement, “however it is important to point out the level of ‘journalism’ portrayed by the Facebook page that initially shared the video.”
The statement goes on to clarify the audio of the Quran verses in question.
“The audio extract was not of the Quran being mixed with music,” said the statement. “It was an extract taken from the radio. The audio clearly shows the switch between local radio stations, which happened to have one of the stations featuring that extract of someone reciting a verse from the Quran. That verse went on for only a few seconds only and was not repeated again throughout the night.”
According to the statement, Acid Pauli, who is originally from Germany, did not understand the language or the potential offence of his actions. After learning of the error, Acid Pauli “apologized instantly,” said the club.
Following this incident, the club, which does not pre-approve sets from its performing artists, will be “taking precautions in the future to prevent this kind of incident from happening,” read the statement.
The club also noted that its managing partner and spokesperson is a Muslim. “Many hateful comments and remarks lead to people accusing our Christian brothers and sisters of intentionally playing versus [sic] of the Quran,” read the statement. “Our organization consists of people coming from all religious backgrounds and would never intentionally allow the desecration of any belief.”
The club closes the statement with an apology for any offences caused by the video: “Our apology is not only to the Muslim community but also to every person that suffered from the backlash of this incident. We do not condone any behavior [sic] that crosses the limit of respecting other people’s beliefs.”
Read the full statement from The Gärten via its official Facebook page.