The fiancée of the murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi is pleading with Justin Bieber to cancel his upcoming concert in Saudi Arabia.
The pop icon is scheduled to appear at the Formula One Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2021 on Dec. 5, but Hatice Cengiz is hoping to dissuade him from performing the show.
"This is a unique opportunity to send a powerful message to the world that your name and talent will not be used to restore the reputation of a regime that kills its critics," Cengiz wrote in The Washington Post on Saturday.
Khashoggi, a U.S. resident who wrote columns for The Washington Post that were critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed in October 2019 in Istanbul by a team of operatives linked to the prince in the kingdom's consulate, Reuters reported. Earlier this year, a U.S. intelligence report said the crown prince had approved an operation to capture or kill the journalist.
In her letter, Cengiz wrote Bieber's invitation to perform in Jiddah came directly from the crown prince, who is nicknamed MBS.
"Nothing of significance happens in Saudi Arabia without his consent, and certainly not an event as important and flashy as this," she wrote. "Your face is even featured on the event's website with his — the executioner of my fiance, Jamal.
"I know that you are dedicated to your fans and are traveling to Saudi Arabia on their behalf. However, there are hundreds of Saudis, of all ages, backgrounds and religious beliefs, languishing in prison, punished for merely expressing their opposition to the merciless Saudi dictatorship of MBS."
All forms of oppression are evil, Cengiz continued, regardless of how they occur. She then referenced a quote Bieber said when the Black Lives Matters movement first began to sweep the country.
"I want to use the platform I have to remind people that racism is evil, and it is ingrained in our culture," he wrote in an Instagram post at the time.
Cengiz pointed out to Bieber that in stating this, he had taken a stand against injustice. She then urged him to now use his platform as an artist to support the cause of human rights in Saudi Arabia.
"This year, you released an album that you titled 'Justice.' You also released one titled 'Freedom.' Saudi Arabia is in dire need of both," she continued. "Do not sing for the murderers of my beloved Jamal. Please speak out and condemn his killer, Mohammed bin Salman. Your voice will be heard by millions. If you refuse to be a pawn of MBS, your message will be loud and clear: I do not perform for dictators. I choose justice and freedom over money."
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