Scorpions Drummer Jailed in Dubai Over Alleged Islam Insult

4:52 PM PST 04/30/2014 by The Associated Press, Billboard Staff
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James Kottak has been convicted of insulting Islam, raising his middle finger and being under the influence of alcohol while in transit at Dubai airport.

Newspapers in the United Arab Emirates are reporting that the American drummer for the rock band Scorpions has been sentenced to one month in jail after being convicted of offensive behavior in Dubai.

The government-backed National newspaper reported Tuesday that James Kottak was convicted of insulting Islam, raising his middle finger and being under the influence of alcohol while in transit at Dubai airport. The reports allege Kottak was heard ranting about "non-educated Muslims" and that he covered his nose when he saw Pakistani and Afghan passengers nearby. He also reportedly pulled his pants down.

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The Gulf News daily says Kottak was arrested April 3 en route from Russia to Bahrain, where the German band was scheduled to perform at a Formula One race. Kottak was a no-show at the April 5 concert.

The newspapers say Kottak admitted to drinking but denied other charges. 

"There is no way that I would say such a phrase about Muslims, whether I was drunk or not," he reportedly told police. "I confess to drinking alcohol but I refuse the other two charges, I did not do them."

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The Scorpions' manager didn't respond to requests for comment. Kottak's local lawyer couldn't immediately be reached.

Kottak joined the Scorpions in 1996.

This story first appeared on Billboard.com

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