Elders 'ban' musical gatherings in Landi Kotal

Ali Akbar | Abdullah Malik

Updated September 08, 2017

Seminary organisers in the town of Landi Kotal in the Federally Administered Tribal Area on Friday allegedly announced a ban on musical gatherings in the area, sources in the political administration told DawnNews.

Syed Mohammad Ilyas Banuri alias Khan Lala and Syed Muhammad Ibrahim alias Bacha Jan, organisers of the Khanqah-e-Binoria seminary, allegedly announced the restriction on musical gatherings in the Shinwari Ashkhel area, the sources said.

The organisers warned that the houses of those either holding musical gatherings or in possession of musical instruments would be burnt, the sources claimed.

According to sources, a few days ago, the organisers of the seminary had allegedly ransacked weddings in the area and seized musical instruments being played there.

Today, after Friday prayers and in the presence of hundreds of people, the men allegedly burnt the instruments, the sources said.

Niaz Mohammad, an assistant political agent, told DawnNews that the administration has summoned Khan Lala after taking notice of the incident.
"We will ask him [Khan Lala] what capacity he made such statements in when there is a political administration available. If something objectionable is happening, then it is up to the administration to take action not an individual."

His piano burned, musician joins migrant tide

Rana Moussaoui
Sep. 21, 2015
Agence France Presse

BEIRUT: Three years of siege, famine and bombing of his Damascus refugee camp didn’t kill celebrated musician Aeham al-Ahmad, but something died inside him the day militants burned his beloved piano in front of his eyes. It was then that Ahmad, whose music had brought consolation, even a bit of joy, to Yarmouk camp’s beleaguered residents, decided to join thousands of others and seek refuge in Europe.

“They burned it in April, on my birthday. It was my most cherished possession,” Ahmad told AFP, which is following his odyssey online, step-by-step. “The piano wasn’t just an instrument. It was like the death of a friend.”

For 27-year-old Ahmad, whose songs of hope amid the rubble of Syria’s largest Palestinian camp became a social media sensation last year, “it was a very painful moment.”

Since Syria’s civil war struck Yarmouk in 2013, the once-thriving neighborhood saw its population dwindle from 150,000 Palestinians and Syrians to barely 18,000 people.

The camp was caught up in fighting among government forces, rebels, and extremists and suffered a devastating siege by the Syrian army. About 200 people died from malnutrition and a lack of medicines.

Ahmad became a symbol of hope, helping Yarmouk’s people – particularly its children – forget for a moment the brutal war raging around them with every note he played. “The days when I felt the most helpless were when I had money, but I could not get milk for my year-old baby Kinan, or when my older son Ahmad would ask me for a biscuit,” he said.

“It was the worst feeling.”

But after ISIS militants attacked the camp in April, Ahmad’s gentle, tentative ray of light was engulfed in flames. He was in a pickup truck, trying to move his piano to nearby Yalda, where his wife and two boys were living, when he was stopped at a militant checkpoint.

“Don’t you know that music is haram [forbidden by Islam],” a gunman asked, before torching his beloved instrument.

Ahmad had stayed in Yarmouk until the day ISIS reduced his battered but precious upright piano to ashes: “That’s when I decided to leave.”

He would make for Germany, from where he would then try to get his family out of Syria.

He began the dangerous journey out of Damascus “as rockets rained down,” heading north through the provinces of Homs, Hama, and Idlib until he reached the Turkish border.

“At every step, I would meet another trafficker of human flesh,” he recalled.

With the help of smugglers, he avoided Turkey’s increasingly watchful security forces by crawling through barriers of barbed wire and spending nights sleeping fitfully in dark forests.

With other Syrian men, women and children, Ahmad trekked through mountainous terrain to reach the Turkish coast.

“Once, we went 24 hours without eating a thing; the children were so hungry they would cry. It was horrible,” Ahmad said.

On Sept. 10, he began posting pictures on Facebook to document his journey.

The first was of his emaciated face. When he was in Yarmouk, he weighed a mere 45 kilos.

When he finally arrived in Izmir on the Mediterranean, Turkey’s second port, Ahmad was shocked to see refugees “sleeping on sidewalks as they couldn’t afford a hotel room.”

A trafficker arranged for him to spend the night in an apartment “full of rats and insects.”

Then, he and some 70 others were crammed into a tiny van heading to the coastline, where they would take a dinghy to the Greek island of Lesbos. They each paid smugglers $1,250, as thousands of others had done, knowing they might not survive. Suddenly gripped with fear, Ahmad took to his Facebook travel journal, “Diaries of a Traveller in the Sea.”

“Dearest Mediterranean, I am Aeham and would like to safely ride your waves,” he posted Monday.

When the first rays of sunlight struck the sea at dawn Thursday, Ahmad found himself on a Greek beach. Tapping along on his knees, he sang a tragic tune about the “death haunting” his country: “Tragedy has crossed the seas/Syria implores its displaced children to return.”

Dreaming, like so many others, of reaching Germany, Ahmad made his way to Macedonia, then Serbia, and was on his way to Zagreb Saturday night “if they let me in.”

“It has been nonstop,” he told AFP. “I haven’t slept for the past three days; I am exhausted. I hope I will reach my destination soon.”

“I want to play in the streets of Berlin like I played in the streets of Yarmouk,” he said.

But his dream doesn’t end there.

“I would love to play in the most famous orchestras, touring around the world and conveying the suffering of those that are besieged in [Yarmouk] and of all the civilians still in Syria.”

Karachi enforces ban on music in public transport


KARACHI: Traffic police in Karachi said Thursday they have launched a campaign to stop music being played in public transport due to complaints from women.

The authorities denied the move was in response to a reported warning from the Taliban, who consider music sinful according to their interpretation of Islam.

“No there was no threat to the traffic police from anyone, it is entirely baseless,” Arif Hanif, Karachi traffic police chief AFP.

“We only got complaints from the women commuters and nothing else,” Hanif said.

“And the campaign is aimed at the implementation of the law as the rules prohibit playing music in public transport,” he said.

The congested roads of the chaotic city of 20 million are plied by a variety of public transport vehicles including buses, rickshaws and taxis.

Drivers caught playing music will be fined and music players will be confiscated under the crackdown.

Jihad Watch
January 29, 2013

It is amazing that the whole audience doesn't erupt into laughter when the clownish Islamic supremacist Aslan emits these howlers. Sharia in reality is marked by a remarkable uniformity: the four Sunni madhahib agree on about 75% of all rulings. Whenever and wherever we see Sharia implemented, it looks essentially the same. Changes and variations come in when Sharia provisions are relaxed or dropped altogether, as in secular Turkey -- but that is not some different version of Sharia, it is no Sharia at all.

Mali Islamic supremacists move to ban music, just as they have in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Mali and Afghanistan are separated by immense distance and differences of language and culture. But Sharia in both is markedly similar.

Hadith Qudsi 19:5: "The Prophet said that Allah commanded him to destroy all the musical instruments, idols, crosses and all the trappings of ignorance." (The Hadith Qudsi, or holy Hadith, are those in which Muhammad transmits the words of Allah, although those words are not in the Qur'an.)
Muhammad also said:

(1) "Allah Mighty and Majestic sent me as a guidance and mercy to believers and commanded me to do away with musical instruments, flutes, strings, crucifixes, and the affair of the pre-Islamic period of ignorance."
(2) "On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will pour molten lead into the ears of whoever sits listening to a songstress."
(3) "Song makes hypocrisy grow in the heart as water does herbage."
(4) "This community will experience the swallowing up of some people by the earth, metamorphosis of some into animals, and being rained upon with stones." Someone asked, "When will this be, O Messenger of Allah?" and he said, "When songstresses and musical instruments appear and wine is held to be lawful."
(5) "There will be peoples of my Community who will hold fornication, silk, wine, and musical instruments to be lawful ...." -- 'Umdat al-Salik r40.0

Mali musicians forced out by Islamic rebels

CBC News Posted: Jan 27, 2013

As Islamic radicals clamp down on much of Mali, the rich musical culture of the country is threatened.

There are reports of instruments being broken and music being banned in the north, except the singing of verses of the Qur'an.

Canada is weighing whether to extend its mission in Mali, as French and African troops move into the nation to push back Islamic rebels who have taken the north of the country.

Many musicians have fled the country and are in refugee camps in bordering Burkina Faso.

In any case, the conflict has robbed most of them of their livelihood, as they can no longer play at weddings and festivals.

Ibrahima Diabaté, a Malian musician now living in Montreal, says he’s afraid his homeland’s vibrant musical culture is being destroyed.

"Seeing my country in this situation is really hard for me. It's unbelievable," he told CBC News.

A group of 40 of the Mali’s top artists, led by singer Fatoumata Diawara, have recorded a song and video, title Mali-Ko, that is a plea for peace.

"People are looking up to musicians for a sense of direction," Diawara said, highlighting the importance of music to the people of Mali.

Even the acclaimed Festival in the Desert, an annual celebration of Tuareg culture that usually is held outside of Bamako, is going into exile this year.

Last year, U2's Bono played at the festival alongside the well-known band Tinariwen and Indo-Canadian singer Kiran Ahluwalia also had a spot.

"I immediately felt the warmth of the audience,” she said. “It was a very very hospitable crowd. The arts are a major life nourishment. And that part of life is no longer being nourished."

Instead the festival is in exile, with caravans of performers heading to a spot in Burkina Faso to catch up with fellow musicians forced out of the country.

Somali stations air animal noises to protest extremists' music ban

By the CNN Wire Staff
April 13, 2010

(CNN) -- Roars, growls and galloping hooves replaced music Tuesday on some of Mogadishu's radio stations in a protest of a ban on music imposed by Islamic extremists.

Radio Shabelle, along with the stations Tusmo and Hornafrik, were responding to threats from Muslim militant groups that believe music is un-Islamic and want it prohibited.

Mogadishu's 14 private radio stations stopped playing music Tuesday after Hizbul al-Islam, an Islamic extremist group, issued a 10-day ultimatum. The threat was backed by the main militant group al-Shabaab, which has been linked to al Qaeda.

A statement from the National Union of Somali Journalists said several stations received calls, warning them that there would be consequences if they failed to comply with the ban within 10 days.

But the three stations decided to broadcast the noises instead of music. Radio Shabelle announcers could be heard speaking on air, backed by the sounds of hooves, ocean waves, gunfire -- even the roars and growls of big cats.

A radio station director, who could not be identified because of safety concerns, said the stations were unhappy about the ban but were forced to comply "because of fear for our lives."

A Somali journalist, who also asked not to be identified, said there is widespread fear that this marks the beginning of a wider plot by extremists to silence independent media. He fears that female journalists may become the next target.

Hizbul al-Islam is one of many rebel groups operating in the country. The group has a complicated relationship with al-Shabaab; between them, the two groups control much of Mogadishu, and several radio stations are in neighborhoods under their control.

Somalia has not had a stable government since 1991. Islamic militant groups are fighting the government in an effort to implement a stricter form of Islamic law, or Sharia.



Exploring Cat Stevens' wild Muslim world

By Bill DeYoung
The Patriot Ledger
May 22nd, 2000

Curiosity killed Cat Stevens

A singer, songwriter and guitarist whose simple melodies were artfully aligned with lyrics both whimsical and mysterious, he'd clawed out a niche for himself in the early 1970s with a string of hits including "Wild World," "Moonshadow" and "Peace Train." He had eight gold albums in a row.

The British-born son of a Greek Cypriot father and Swedish mother, Stevens' dark, exotic good looks made him stand out, and women everywhere found him irresistible.

Still, it wasn't enough. Admired and coddled, but troubled inside, Stevens began investigating the Koran, the Islamic holy book, and within its pages he found the answers he felt he'd been looking for. In 1977, he pronounced himself a Muslim, took on the name Yusuf Islam ("Joseph Rescued" [sic]) and eventually entered into an arranged marriage. He auctioned off his guitars, pianos and awards and bid good riddance to the secular world.

"I was always extremely committed to whatever I did," Islam said. "And sometimes I had to close my mind to everything else in order to achieve my goal. I did that when I was a songwriter. I almost didn't listen to anybody else's music, because I thought it might influence me, and I'd end up copying them.

"And I did it when I entered my spiritual discovery of Islam. It made me think only about just that, and I didn't want to think about anything else."

Reminiscing on the telephone from his London office, Islam, now 52, said those last years as Cat Stevens were marked by half-finished spiritual quests and indecision. The Koran -- a gift from his brother David -- was the answer. "I'd had many dreams of walking away," he said. "But only when I had enough knowledge of where I wanted to go could I do it."

Steven Demetri Georgiou was born in London's West End, where his musical interests included Russian choral music, traditional Greek folk songs, musical theater, the blues and rock 'n' roll. "All that formed the tapestry of my background," he said. "But one of the songs that really stuck out for me was 'Up on the Roof.' That just brought to life what I used to do. We used to climb those roofs in that part of London. And out came this song, I couldn't believe it was a direct reflection of my life. And my interests.

"One of my all-time favorite figures was Ledbelly; he had such a story to tell. And his words were real. They smacked of reality. That, I liked.

"When Dylan came along and started poetically putting in the ideas of freedom and a new lifestyle, it was just an inspiration. It all came together at once."

He was 19 when a record producer signed him up, changed his name and made him a pop star with "Matthew and Son" and "The First Cut is the Deepest," heavily orchestrated takes on songs he had written. He opened for Engelbert Humperdinck and Jimi Hendrix, before a bout with tuberculosis put him in the hospital for a year, his career all but over.

In 1970, Stevens re-emerged with "Mona Bone Jakon," an all-acoustic, introspective set of songs that sounded nothing like his teen hits. "I'd just come out of a very dark phase, and that of course gave me a great understanding that I was not immortal," he said, "that life meant hard knocks as well.

"I was coming out of that with some kind of sense of my destiny, but not really knowing exactly which direction it was going to take. But I had a great optimism, I think."

With the smash albums "Tea For The Tillerman" and "Teaser and the Firecat," Cat Stevens' new style of what he called "gentle folksinging" crossed the Atlantic; he was the dark-eyed, hypnotic European equivalent of James Taylor, who came to prominence at the same time.

Cat Stevens' songs frequently referred to God and a hunger for spiritual balance. "It was just under the surface," he said. "The nature behind the artist is not really changeable. There are those perceptions, those insights which are privately known and sometimes come out poetically, and in colors, music and sound, and in emotions.

"They're difficult to interpret when you're experiencing them, but from this perspective now, they're easier to see, and more clear." He points to the songs "Miles From Nowhere," "On the Road to Find Out" and "Sitting" as examples.

He tried Buddhism, Taoism and even numerology, changing his religious convictions as quickly as he took on and discarded musical styles. "I was always looking for something different," he said. "And like many people, I used to get bored quickly. And if I got a little bit tired with myself, or with my clothes, or with the songs, I'd try something different."

He moved to Brazil in the mid-'70s, to escape Britain's crippling tax laws, and his love of the polyrhythms of South America gave his music a harder, more syncopated edge. "I was balancing between many different demands," he explains. "One was my artistic expectation of myself, and from that point of view I was always trying to go past new boundaries."

His audience, however, did not follow, and by the time of the last Cat Stevens album, 1978's "Back To Earth," his sales had fallen sharply.

His earlier material remains in demand; this week, MCA Records will issue re-mastered CDs of "Mona," "Tea" and "Teaser," with the rest of the Cat Stevens catalog to follow later in the year. Islam is helping to assemble a box set for release this fall.

The father of five children, Islam is the chairman of the Islamic Schools Trust, which he set up in 1983. He runs the Islamia primary and secondary schools for boys and girls in London, and recently issued a children's CD, "A Is For Allah," which blends a spoken-word explanation of the Islamic alphabet with a capella singing (Western musical instruments are frowned upon in Islam).

Islam was internationally vilified when he appeared to support Iran's 1989 fatwa, or sentence of death, on author Salmon Rushdie, whose book "Satanic Verses" Muslim leaders consider blasphemous.

He won't discuss the matter any more; however, in a statement issued at the time, Islam said he'd been misquoted. While he supports the Muslim idea of supreme punishment for blasphemy, he said, he didn't think it was right to hunt someone down and kill them.

"I've always been fairly misunderstood," he said. "And life's been a struggle to explain myself."

Only in the last year or so has he felt comfortable discussing Cat Stevens again. "I see the value more these days in the kind of heritage which I've left in the music and lyrics," he said.

"I can separate in my own mind that which is good and that which is bad, and not only that, but so many people still gain value from those songs. I'm always receiving letters from fans and people who my music has touched. Recently, there was a letter from someone who said literally they were on the verge of suicide, and then they listened to one of my songs and it changed them. And that's really positive."


Iran bans Western music

Ruling takes country back to Khomeini days

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has banned Western music from Iran's radio and TV stations, reviving one of the harshest cultural decrees from the early days of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Songs such as George Michael's "Careless Whisper," Eric Clapton's "Rush" and the Eagles' "Hotel California" have regularly accompanied Iranian broadcasts, as do tunes by saxophonist Kenny G.

But the official IRAN Persian daily reported Monday that Ahmadinejad, as head of Iran's Supreme Cultural Revolutionary Council, ordered the enactment of an October ruling by the council to ban Western music.

"Blocking indecent and Western music from the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting is required," according to a statement on the council's official Web site.

Ahmadinejad's order means broadcasters must execute the decree and prepare a report on its implementation within six months, according to the newspaper.

"This is terrible," said Iranian guitarist Babak Riahipour, whose music was played occasionally on state radio and TV. "The decision shows a lack of knowledge and experience."

Music was outlawed as un-Islamic by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini soon after the revolution. But as the fervor of the revolution started to fade, light classical music was allowed on radio and television. Some public concerts reappeared in the late 1980s.

Western music, films and clothing are widely available in Iran, and hip-hop can be heard on Tehran's streets, blaring from car speakers or from music shops. Bootleg videos and DVDs of films banned by the state are widely available on the black market.

After eight years of reformist-led rule in Iran, Ahmadinejad won office in August on a platform of reverting to ultraconservative principles promoted by the revolution.

Since then, Ahmadinejad has jettisoned Iran's moderation in foreign policy and pursued a purge in the government, replacing pragmatic veterans with former military commanders and inexperienced religious hard-liners.

He also has issued stinging criticisms of Israel, called for the Jewish state to be "wiped off the map" and described the Nazi Holocaust as a "myth." (Full story)

International concerns are high over Iran's nuclear program, with the United States accusing Tehran of pursuing an atomic weapons program. Iran denies the claims.

During his presidential campaign, Ahmadinejad also promised to confront what he called the Western cultural invasion and promote Islamic values.

The latest media ban also includes censorship of content of films.

"Supervision of content from films, TV series and their voice-overs is emphasized in order to support spiritual cinema and to eliminate triteness and violence," the council said in a statement on its Web site explaining its October ruling.

The council has also issued a ban on foreign movies that promote "arrogant powers," an apparent reference to the United States.

The Associated Press.


Minstrels are not part of our true Muslim culture

January 5, 2006

In response to Gadija Sity-Taliep's letter "Disgusting sights ruin our new year tradition" (Cape Points, December 29) about the real truth behind the carnival:

The coons are really a front for drug dealers and caters for the cartels. It has become a breeding ground for drug deals. It is not an "important part of Islamic culture".

In response to "Closet minstrel" by Zane Ibrahim (Cape Argus December 30): Mr Ibrahim claims to be a Muslim and states that nowhere in Islam does it prohibit joy!

On that point he is correct - Islam does not prohibit joy, but the expression of joy can take many forms. Islam's version of joy is, for example, a child mastering the recital of our Glorious Qur'an or a child getting married or whatever action will please Allah (God).

All our expressions of joy start and end with the recital of a Duah (pleading with God to bless the undertaking) - not painting our faces and behaving like lunatics.

Please allow me to explain the simple tenets of Islam. Islam is built on five principles: to believe in One God and our prophet Mogamat (peace be upon him) and the Quran; to pray five times a day; to give to charity; to fast for 30 days in the month of Ramadaan; to visit Mecca for pilgrimage.

The first four are compulsory and the fifth one becomes obligatory if you have the means (financially).

A Muslim's life should be based on the Qur'an and the teachings of our beloved prophet Mogamat. Nowhere have I heard or seen proof that our beloved prophet painted his face and danced in the street because of joy.

Anything that detracts from being a good Muslim is frowned upon by all the scholars of Islam.

Just one thing, Mr Ibrahim: - where do the coons (the Muslim ones) get the the time to perform Salaah (prayers)? There is no way that a Muslim who is part of the coons and runs up and down the streets with a painted face can perform his prayers on time.

I challenge anyone from the coon board to state publicly that all their Muslim members stop their performances and go to pray during the prayer hours.
You shall forever be the receivers of charities instead of being the providers if you continue to act like lunatics!

Concerned Muslim
Cape Town


Spanish group loses award after Muslim outcry over song

Wednesday 8 March 2006 - Yussef Qaradhawi’s Islam Online reports that a song allegedly insulting Muslims won the first prize of an annual festival held in the independent Spanish enclave Sebta in Morocco.

Local Muslims and political parties have succesfully called for the withdrawal of the prize.

"The Democratic Party in Sebta [which groups many Spanish Muslims of Moroccan origin] is planning a legal action against the festival’s organizers for the racism displayed in the song’s lyrics," party head Mohamad Ali told Wednesday, March 8.

The lyrics, says Islam Online, describes Muslims as "animals" and "bastards."

However, speaking to the Spanish daily El Plural, the song’s authors, Los Polluelos con pelos en los güevos, deny it is racist and blasted the lack of understanding on the part of Muslims. "We did not intended to insult collectively Muslims, but a part whose attitude we do not share" said Jorge Pérez, author of the lyrics and added "We call animals all those who kill in the name of religion and if a Christian killed in the name of Christ, we would consider him to be an animal as well".



5 June 2006

Ten young men donning long beards, short pants and white hats broke up a concert of the Balkanika orchestra.


The hooligans were dressed like members of the vehabit movement. They climbed up onto the stage and threw around the instruments that were set up for the musicians to play. One of the young men toko the microphone and told those attending the concert: “Brothers, go home, they are working against Islam here. This is Satan’s work.”

He then threw the microphone, which was damaged, as were the speakers, mixing board and some of the lighting.

Four police officers were present at the concert in Novi Pazar and used force to get the youths off of the stage and stop them from coming back. The concert was organised by the Novi Pazar municipality and the Serbia Culture and Sport Ministry.

About a half hour later, a group of about 50 Novi Pazar football supporters, upset over the team’s loss to Mladosti from Apatin, started throwing stones at the stage where the concert was supposed to be held. Earlier, the game was stopped for an hour after the Novi Pazar fans hit referee Nikola Maljković in the head with a rock.

The police have yet to comment on the two incidents, though further public concerts in the region will probably all be cancelled.

The vehabit is a radical Islamic group founded in Saudi Arabia. It is hard to give an estimate on how many supporters the group has in the Sandžak area, but what is sure is that the numbers have increased greatly in recent years.