Hip-hopping: A Religious Sin in Al-Qaeda-Free Yemen

January 3, 2019

The WaxOn group had thought their woes have ended once the Al-Qaeda left Mukalla. Their happiness ended as the five dancers of the group were detained for performing hip-hop dance in public.

The band members were detained by the police last month for some time. In that period the police broke their equipment and threatened the members. They only got released after signing an agreement of not performing the dance in public ever again.

One of the band members, Salman Basaud said that the police told them it is a religious sin to dance hip-hop. The brutal behaviour of the officers surprised the band members. Another member of the band, Mohammed Al Amiri said that they were treated like militants. The local administrative authority however not responded to any of the questions regarding this matter.

The band members are saying that the incident is eerily similar to the Al-Qaeda era. At that time the band members were prohibited by the militants to perform publicly.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has ruled the port city of Mukalla in 2015-16. The Saudi backed coalition force, however, drove the militants off the city. Since then, peace has returned to Mukalla compared to the rest of Yemen.

WaxOn resumed their public performances in 2016 after Al-Qaeda left the port city. According to them, people love to see their performance. They were even getting paid to perform in parties and such.

The band members feel betrayed as they are singled out from the other dance bands that perform traditional Yemeni dance. The band leader has said,  the police should acknowledge their form of art also. If the police are not going to compensate for the destroyed equipment, they should at least cancel the pledges that they forced from the team members, the band leader demands.

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