After Backlash, Syrian Contestant Withdraws from ‘The Voice’ France

Friday, 9 February, 2018 - 19:00
Asharq Al-Awsat

After attracting attention for being the first veiled woman to advance to the next round of the singing show “The Voice” in France, Syria’s Manal Ibtisam announced that she was withdrawing from the competition following the emergence of controversial social media posts she had made in 2016.

Ibtisam, 22, drew criticism for Facebook messages posted after deadly attacks in Nice and Normandy in 2016. In one, she wrote "the real terrorist is our government."

She wrote that the “real terrorist is our government.”

She apologized, saying she was shaken by the attacks and by French authorities' failure to prevent them. But criticism continued, and she announced Friday that she quit the TV competition.

She said in video on her Facebook page on Friday: “I did not wish to hurt the feelings of anyone. My message was peace, not creating problems.”

“I was born in France and I love France. I want to thank all who supported me,” she said, while revealing that she will continue to pursue her singing career.

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