• Pakistan: Music once again in the crosshairs

    On 2 July 2017, Islamabad police raided a late-night dance party at the Grand Ambassador Hotel and arrested over 50 people, mostly male, including the hotel owner and manager, on charges of “obscene acts and songs”, reported The Express Tribune on 3 July 2017. Police officers stated that the male and female participants were dancing […]
  • USA: Christian retailer pulls rap album from shelves over offensive word

    Christian retailer LifeWay dropped Christian rapper Sho Baraka’s latest album ‘The Narrative’ from its stores after customers complained about offensive language, specifically the word “penis” in the album’s final song, reported The Washington Post on 8 February 2017. “Like any retailer, LifeWay has a responsibility not to carry resources with content our customers consider inappropriate,” […]
  • Tunisia: British DJ sentenced to jail for playing dance version of Muslim prayer

    A Tunisian court sentenced British DJ Dax J to a year in jail for “public indecency” and “offending public morality” after playing a dance remix of the Muslim call to prayer on 31 March 2017 at the ORBIT Festival in the north eastern coastal town of Nabeul, reported BBC on 7 April 2017. The Bristish-born, […]
  • India: Two female singers threatened by radicals and clerics

    As many as 46 clerics and Islamic organisations in the north-eastern state of Assam issued a fatwa banning teen female singer Nahid Afrin from singing at a musical show on 25 March. The fatwa comes just days after reports revealed that another female singer, Suhana Syed, has been receiving threats from radical Islamists for singing […]
  • Saudi Arabia: Music video and government initiatives split society

    A music video entitled ‘Hwages’, which loosely translates to “concerns”, featuring a trio of veiled female artists with colourful clothing underneath, playing together and singing about the oppression women face in Saudi Arabia has not only gone viral, but has also divided the country, reported The Independent on 5 January 2017. The women, while they […]
  • Iran: Band banned from festival due to women singing solo

    Kurdish band Dayrak Khatoon was banned from performing at the International Festival of Tribal Music in Kermanshah, in western Iran, due to the band including women who also sing solo, reported Kurdistan Human Rights Network on 22 January 2017. The organisation reported that a critical article was published in Marsad News accusing the band of […]
  • Pakistan: Scores killed during devotional activities at Sufi shrine

    At least 88 people have been killed, and hundreds more injured, on 16 February 2017 after a suicide bomber detonated a bomb at a crowded Sufi shrine in Sehwan, a town in the southern province in Sindh, reported The Guardian on 17 February 2017. “The explosion took place when a large number of people were […]
  • Russia: Artistic freedom threatened by nationalist and orthodox groups

    While Russian president Vladimir Putin vowed in a meeting with film directors and artists in early December 2016 to protect artistic freedom, he also said artists carry a responsibility not to offend religious believers, saying “there is a very narrow divide between dangerous shock value and freedom of creativity”, reported The New York Times on […]
  • Lebanon: Backlash mounts after psychedelic music festival

    The Hexaplex psychedelic music festival held from 1-4 September 2016 at a camping site in Chahtoul, Lebanon, 35 kilometres north of capital Beirut, has been receiving backlash from the local Christian community, politicians and general public who claim festivalgoers participated in acts contrary to their religious, cultural and social norms and values, including the use […]
  • USA: Christian music festival drops band due to gay singer

    Christian band Everyday Sunday was dropped from northern California Christian music festival Joshua Fest as 11 production staff threatened to walk out if the recently out lead singer of the band, Trey Pearson, took the stage, reported Billboard on 12 September 2016. Joshua Fest owner Aaron Diello said that his production manager told him that out […]
  • Somalia: Concert cancelled for “objectionable” shows in Europe

    A concert with singer Nasteexo Indho, along with DJ Subeer and the singers from Stars of the Horn, was cancelled one hour before it was scheduled to begin on 13 August 2016 in Hargeisa as armed soldiers surrounded the DJ and a young TV cameraman, informing them of the cancellation and that Nasteexo would be […]
  • Iran: Concerts in the crosshairs

    Religious conservatives in Iran have been tightening control over the nation’s cultural and moral values ever since the 2013 election of liberal President Hassan Rouhani and the 2015 nuclear deal, amidst fears that the country will lose its values to Western influences. Art, especially music and live concerts, has become one such target for religious […]
  • Malaysia: Artist released on bail; investigation pending

    Malaysian artist Namewee was released on bail in Penang on 25 August 2016 after four days in detention over charges that a recent video he starred in, directed and produced allegedly insulted Islam, reported Reuters on 25 August 2016. Penang district police chief Mior Faridalathrash Wahid said they have referred the case to the Penang […]
  • Malaysia: Rapper threatened with censorship and arrest

    Police plan to arrest rapper Namewee (real name Wee Meng Chee) when he returns to Malaysia over his recent video for a song he performed with Taiwanese hip hop trio Jiu Yi Yi (Nine One One) called ‘Oh My God’, which has allegedly insulted religion, reported Free Malaysia Today on 2 August 2016. Penang police […]
  • China: American singer banned due to Dalai Lama meeting

    American pop star Lady Gaga is the latest addition to the ever-growing list of artists banned by China for their meetings with the Dalai Lama or stances on Tibet, reported The Guardian on 28 June 2016. The singer met with the Dalai Lama on 26 June 2016 at the US Conference of Mayors for approximately […]
  • Pakistan: The war on living arts in Swat

    Who is protecting and supporting the living arts after a conflict? A new report reveals how artistic life and the cultural industry is still suffering immensely after the Taliban were ousted from the Swat Valley in Pakistan more than seven years ago. A new report on the effects of war and repression of musicians, performers […]
  • Pakistan: Famed Sufi singer killed in drive-by shooting

    Freemuse calls for counter narratives to religious extremism On 22 June 2016, one of Pakistan’s most famous singers Amjad Sabri died in the port town of Karachi after two gunmen on a motorbike shot the singer in his car just a kilometre after leaving his home. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the killing, reported […]
  • Turkey: Music fans attacked at Radiohead store event

    Music fans enjoying a special worldwide release event on 17 June 2016 for rock band Radiohead’s latest album at record store Velvet Indieground in the Cihangir district of Istanbul were attacked by a mob of about 20 men who took offense to people listening to music and drinking alcohol during Ramadan, reported The Guardian 18 […]
  • Gambia: Music banned during Ramadan

    A Gambian state police statement issued on 6 June 2016 announced a ban on music, drumming and dance in “all ceremonies, festivities and programmes” taking place, day or night, during the holy month of Ramadan, reported Nigerian newspaper Punch on 9 June 2016. The statement warned that “all those engaged” in playing music or dance […]
  • Georgia: Conservative religious group disrupts rock festival

    A group of priests and conservative Orthodox Christian activists attempted to violently shut down the annual Tbilisi JAM Fest, a two-day, open-air international rock festival on the outskirts of Georgia’s capital Tbilisi, reported Georgia Today on 5 June 2016. The group showed up at the festival location on 4 June 2016 in the Zahesi suburbs […]
  • Afghanistan: Kandahar authorities ban broadcast of songs by women

    Local Ministry of Information and Culture authorities in the southern Kandahar province of Afghanistan have banned women’s songs from being broadcast across local media, directly affecting the 11 radio stations in operation in the area, reported Afghanistan’s TOLONews on 23 May 2016. Head of Wranga Radio in Kandahar told TOLONews that “local officials in Kandahar […]
  • Iran: Concerts cancelled under pressure from religious conservatives

    This article on cancelled concerts and the nebulous state of artistic freedom due to opposing viewpoints between religious conservatives and the government in Iran was originally published by the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran on 19 May 2016, who have kindly allowed Freemuse to republish it here: Concerts of Popular Iranian Musicians Cancelled Due […]
  • Lebanon: Authorities ban song on grounds of offending God

    The censorship bureau of Lebanon’s General Security Directorate has banned Bachar Mar-Khalife’s song ‘Kyrie Eleison’ because it “contains offenses to God as the singer talked to God in the song saying, ‘have mercy on us and leave us alone’”, reported CNN Arabic on 12 April 2016. The authorities further stated that if Bashar Mar-Khalife wants […]
  • Turkey: “Music that sexually turns on people is a sin”

    Artists are facing severe difficulties under Erdoğan’s rule. On 15 February 2016, The Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs, issued a fatwa – a religious ban – on ‘sexual’ music. The latest victim of this arbitrary repression is an imam who runs a rockband and opposes the Directorate’s fatwa from a religious perspective. By Yiğit Günay […]
  • Jordan: Rock concert banned for “contradicting” religious beliefs

    The Jordanian Ministry of Interior has confirmed that it banned Lebanese rock band Mashrou’ Leila from performing their concert set to take place on 29 April 2016 at the Roman Theatre in the country’s capital of Amman, reported CNN Arabic on 27 April 2016. The popular band, whose music has been called the “soundtrack to […]
  • China: American pop star tour dates cancelled

    Chinese authorities have allegedly banned US pop star Selena Gomez from performing two dates in the country on her Revival Tour due to photos of her with the Dalai Lama posted on her social media profiles in 2014, reported The New Zealand Herald on 20 April 2016. The singer was set to play in Guangzhou […]
  • Iran: Banned music legend may sing again

    Mohammed Reza Shajarian has been known as Iran’s “king of singing” for his renditions of classical poems and religious prayers; however, since he publicly supported the Green Movement against Ahmadinejad in June 2009, Shajarian found himself the victim of a nation-wide ban, unable to perform live or release music. Now, at 76, Shajarian has announced, […]
  • Jordan: Concert by Israeli musician in Wadi Rum cancelled

    Israeli musician Nadav Dagon cancelled his appearance at a three-day music festival scheduled from 7-9 April 2016 in Jordan’s Wadi Rum desert after outcry against the performance surfaced on social media, reaching several parts of Jordan’s society and political groups, reported The Jerusalem Post on 4 April 2016. A group of members of parliament signed a […]
  • Indonesia: West Aceh bans outdoor concerts

    The regency of West Aceh has banned all outdoor concerts based on a recommendation from a group of Muslim scholars trained in Shari’a law, reported The Sydney Morning Herald on 7 April 2016. Ulema, the body of scholars, believed that outdoor concerts had “more disadvantages than advantages”, leading West Aceh regent Teuku Alaidinsyah to no […]
  • Iran: Musical instruments still not allowed on Iranian tv

    Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting blurred the musicians playing instruments, reported journalismisnotacrime.com on 12 February 2016. Families around Iran were told they were in for a treat: Iran’s state tv announced it would broadcast a concert by the popular Iranian singer Salar Aghili. But when it came to the event, very little of the concert […]
  • Turkey: ‘Rocking imam’ blocked from singing in Portugal

    Turkish imam and rock musician Ahmet Muhsin Tüzer has been denied permission to give a concert in Portugal by Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs, the Diyanet, reported several news media on 1 March 2016. Known in Turkey as the “Rockin’ Imam”, Ahmet Muhsin is the imam in the town of Kas, a tiny hamlet on […]
  • Singapore: Madonna banned from performing sensitive song

    The Media Development Authority (MDA), Singapore’s governmental media regulatory board, banned Madonna from performing her song ‘Holy Water’ in her 28 February 2016 show at the country’s National Stadium, reported The Straits Times on 7 January 2016. The MDA rated the concert R18, meaning only those 18 years of age or older can attend, for […]
  • Egypt: Fear of heavy metal returns

    Recent controversies in Egypt over heavy metal music continue to highlight findings in the 2010 Freemuse report “Headbanging against Repressive Regimes”, wherein the music and its fans remain misunderstood and victims of conservative policies and societies. Freemuse Egypt stringer, Shahira Amin, explains the recent events around heavy metal concerts, the role of the Musicians Syndicate and its […]
  • Iraq: Boy beheaded for listening to Western music

    According to ARA News, Islamic State militants publicly executed a 15-year-old boy in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on 16 February 2016 for listening to “Western music”. A spokesman for the Ninevah media centre told the new outlet that the boy, Ayham Hussein, was caught listening to pop music in his father’s grocery store […]
  • Saudi Arabia: Festival stopped due to “swaying and dancing”

    Saudi Arabia’s Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (CPVPV) in the Mayahel province stopped artist’s from performing music at a festival on two consecutive nights due to their dance movements on stage that were seen as improper for the audience, reported online newspaper Benaa.org on 11 January 2016. The head […]
  • Egypt: Singer released after paying bail on contempt of religion charges

    Shaaban Abdel Rahim, famed and controversial Egyptian folklore singer, was under legal and public attacks for the Youtube release of a video of him singing Qur’an lyrics while wearing the religious clothing of Al-Azhar clerics, which landed him in jail, reported The Cairo Post. Attorney Mohammed Kamal filed a claim in October 2015 against Abdel […]
  • Iran: Musicians call for lifting concert ban

    A group of musicians and artists have written to the governor of the Razavi Khorosan province in northeastern Iran to remove the ban on music concerts in Mashhad, the province’s capital and the country’s second most populous city, reported Radio Zamaneh. The musicians and artists state in the letter that the current ban will lead to […]
  • Iran: Music distributors await appeal decision for six years in prison

    Two musicians and a filmmaker who were jointly sentenced to six years in prison and fined 200 million toman (about USD 66,650) each for “insulting the sacred” and “propaganda against the state,” are awaiting a ruling by a Tehran appeals court, according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. Mehdi Rajabian, a musician […]
  • Turkey: Blasphemy ruling reversed for pianist Say

    Pianist Fazıl Say may no longer face a ten-month jail sentence for blasphemy charges related to his tweets as Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals overturned the decision, saying his social media posts fall within the realm of freedom of expression, Hurriyet Daily News reported. The court ruled by majority – four to one – that […]
  • Iran: 26 popular singers banned from performing

    The Intelligence Ministry banned 26 popular musicians and singers from performing in Iran after their music was aired by networks abroad, IranWire reported citing an investigative piece from Etemad newspaper published on 19 October 2015. The head of the music department at the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance confirmed that letters were sent to […]
  • Canada: Religious festival petitions to reverse ban

    More than 20,000 people have signed a petition urging the City of Toronto and its mayor to allow an annual open-air musical festival to continue in August 2016, after the city didn’t grant the festival a permit because it would contravene city policy against “proselytising.” The issue for the city is that the group sings […]
  • Egypt: Resolution against revealing clothing and “vulgar” lyrics

    Egypt’s Musicians’ Union bans artists from wearing “indecent” clothing and using “vulgar” vocabulary on stage and television in a resolution passed at the end of August 2015. Hani Shaker, the newly elected head of the union, aims to continue to promote Egyptian art, but not at the expense of the country’s morals and customs, thus […]
  • Tajikistan: Mandatory wedding music rule to counter religious music ban

    In the Tajik village of Chorkhuh, a conservative pocket of the predominantly Muslim country Tajikistan, wedding music has been frowned upon for years and frequently replaced with Islamic readings by mullahs. But that situation is about to come to an end, if the powers that be get their way, reported Radio Free Europe / Radio […]
  • India: Religious group issues fatwa against composer A. R. Rahman

    A Muslim group in India has issued a fatwa against the Indian musician and composer A. R. Rahman and the Iranian film director Majid Majidi. A Sunni-Muslim group in Mumbai called the Raza Academy has issued the fatwa in protest against Majidi’s film ‘Muhammad: Messenger of God’ – Iran’s most expensive ever movie with a […]
  • India: Film makers threatened to remove song from film

    The makers of the film ‘Guddu Rangeela’ have reportedly been threatened by religious groups that if they don’t remove the song ‘Mata Ka Email’ from their film, they risk facing “dire consequences”, including disruptions at the theatres. In Ludhiana, there has been demonstrations demanding a ban to be put on the film, and posters of the film […]
  • Saudi Arabia: Concert with mixed gender audience cancelled

    A concert scheduled for 6 May 2015 at the major Jeddah Amasy concert hall was cancelled by authorities, according to the daily Saudi newspaper Ajel. Apparently the concert audience was planned to be of ‘mixed gender’, which incited an opposition campaign against the concert on social media. The event was to feature the popular young […]
  • Afghanistan: Musicologist and Taliban bomb victim returns to Kabul

    On 25 May 2015, the British newspaper The Guardian published an article which brings an update on what happened with Dr Ahmad Sarmast, a music professor who founded the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, and who was seated in the front row when, on 11 December 2014, a suicide bomber attacked the French cultural centre […]
  • Egypt: Ministry of Education bans ‘Mahrajant’ folkloric music at schools

    According to the independent Egyptian newspaper El Fagr, the Ministry of Education in Egypt has sent an instructive letter to all governorates’ educational departments stressing that no musical tones or songs can be played in classrooms unless it has been pre-approved by the Ministry to be used in the educational process. Dr Nesrin Helmy, assistant […]
  • Iran: Radical website calls for murder of musician

    On 1 May 2015, the ultra-conservative Iranian website Aba Shohada website announced a reward of approximately $155,000 for anyone who would blow up the concert venues of German-based Iranian musician Shahin Najafi. According to the US based organisation International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, the threat is being addressed by the German police and […]
  • Syria: Islamic State issues ban on songs by American singer

    The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) has distributed many leaflets in Syria to prohibit youth from listening to the songs of the American singer Madonna, reported Al Arabiya, MBC and over 40 other news providers and websites. ISIL stated that Madonna’s songs are ‘haram’ (forbidden in Islam), since […]
  • France: Prime minister intervenes to stop ban of posters for musical trio

    The French Prime Minister stepped in to have a ban lifted on an advert for a musical trio called ‘The Priests’. The country’s tram and Metro network RATP came under fire for pushing France’s beloved secularity too far when it banned posters advertising a concert with Les Pretres in June 2015. Les Pretres (‘The Priests’) […]
  • Russia: Creators of ‘offensive’ Wagner opera acquitted

    Two men who went on trial in Russia on 4 March 2015 over their staging of Richard Wagner’s ‘Tannhauser’ opera, which a senior Orthodox cleric complained was offensive to religious believers, were acquitted in court on 10 March 2015. One month after criminal proceedings launched into ‘blasphemous’ Tannhauser, officials rule production did not break any […]
  • Bahrain: Student and teachers charged with ‘insulting Islam’ over Qur’an song

    A Bahraini high school student and two teachers have been charged with “insulting Islam” after the boy sang verses from the Qur’an accompanied by musical instruments, the official BNA news agency reported on 11 March 2015. The student is shown in the clip singing verses from Al Fatiha – The Opening – the first chapter […]
  • Libya: Photos of instrument-burning distributed online

    An information office of The Islamic State, Isis, in Libya has published photos of its militants burning musical instruments they said were confiscated in line with the radical group’s interpretation of Sharia law. Instrumental music is banned according to the extreme form of Salafi Islam practiced by Islamic State. » Photos: www.dump.to/hesba11 المكتب الإعلامي لولاية […]
  • Egypt: Sufi concert cancelled

    Inshad concert for Sheikh Yasin el Tohami in Al Hussein mosque area in Cairo was cancelled, allegedly for security reasons. On 18 February 2015, security authorities decided to cancel an Inshad (religious singing with no musical instruments) concert by Sheikh Yasin el Tohami, the master of religious Monshedeen (song performers), which was scheduled to be […]
  • Syria: Musicians punished for playing ‘un-Islamic’ instruments

    In Bujaq, a few miles to the east of Aleppo in Syria, the ISIS religious police is reported to have beaten up four young men for playing music using socalled ‘un-Islamic’ instruments such as a keyboard and lute, reported Daily Mail. Images posted on a popular file sharing site showed ISIS policemen hitting the young […]
  • Afghanistan: Theatre performance attacked by suicide bomber

    On 11 December 2014 a 17-year-old suicide bomber blew himself up inside a school auditorium in Kabul where a theatre play condemning suicide bombing, ‘Heartbeat: Silence After the Explosion’, was being presented by students of Kabul University’s Cinema and Theatre Department of Fine Art Faculty Several persons were killed by the bomb blast which came […]
  • Pakistan: 26 years prison verdict for playing religious song while staging mock marriage

    The editor-in-chief of Geo TV, Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, actor Veena Malik, her husband Asad Bashir Khan and tv-host Dr Shaista Lodhi Wahidi have been sentenced to 26 years in prison for an allegedly blasphemous tv-programme with a religious song, reported The Hindu, The News and Rural Media Network Pakistan. Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman (sometimes also spelled: Mir Shakeel […]
  • Pakistan: Rock guitarist keeps music scene alive despite state-wide fear and censorship

    Pakistan is internationally known for its state-sponsored censorship and terrorists’ attacks on musicians and music shops. But in the capital, the music scene is in a fast transition. Meet Islamabad’s maestro guitarist Zeejah Fazli who works hard to help fix Pakistan’s broken and battered music industry. By Annie Zaman with additional reporting by Sahar Ghazi […]
  • Iraq: Kurdish singer receives death threats over music video

    Kurdish singer Helly Luv, 25, allegedly received death threats from ISIS Islamist militants since release of her first music video in February 2014. Helly Luv’s music video combines traditional Middle Eastern pop imagery with materials of the Kurdish nationalist and revolutionary movement. The music video was viewed over three million times in its first five months. […]
  • Saudi Arabia: Edicts on music wade into controversy

    A fatwa by a Saudi scholar banning participation in prayers led by an imam who held the view that music was not forbidden in Islam has waded into controversy. Shaikh Adel Al Kalbani last week said that music was tolerated in Islam and that people could listen to songs. However, his view was promptly resisted […]
  • Iran: Three arrested for music video of men and women singing and dancing

    Iranian police have arrested three people who appeared in an online video of young men and women singing and dancing in support of the country’s World Cup football team, the official IRNA news agency reported on 23 June 2014. The music video was produced by the London-based Ajam Band and features scenes from outside and […]
  • Turkey: Imam given go ahead to make rock‘n’roll

    A Turkish imam, Ahmet Muhsin Tüzer, has been allowed to rock on after the country’s powerful religious authorities gave him the green light to continue playing in his band after a nine-month investigation. Ahmet Muhsin Tüzer, a Muslim religious leader from a tiny hamlet on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, was investigated by the Diyanet, the state […]
  • Report: Religious extremism disastrous to music in Pakistan

    Since 2001, 12 women have been reportedly killed because of their direct involvement in music in North Western Pakistan. Approximately 600 musicians suffered due to the closure of Dabgari Bazar during the MMA government. Around 50 Sufi shrines have been reportedly attacked and an estimated 150 attacks on CD shops and music centres have left […]
  • Swedish city offers Gaza rapper safe city residency

    Video interview with rapper Khaled Harara from Palestine who the Swedish city of Gothenburg has announced will be offered a ‘safe city’ residency for two years. In April 2013, the 26-year-old rapper Khaled Harara came to the Freemuse secretariat in Copenhagen. Having toured Denmark, he was afraid of returning to his home in Gaza. Khaled […]
  • Turkey: Imam who is also a musician receives threats

    Imam and rock musician Ahmet Muhsin Tüzer gave a concert with a repertoire composed entirely by himself at Kaş Marina on 10 August 2013. After the concert was reported by the press, he began to receive threatening and insulting messages. 42-year-old Ahmet Muhsin Tüzer is an imam of a mosque in the village Pınarbası in […]
  • Book by Mark LeVine: ‘Heavy Metal Islam’

    BOOKS ##PagePublishedLong## Mark LeVine (USA): ‘Heavy Metal Islam – Rock, Resistance, and the Struggle for the Soul of Islam’304 pages. Published by Three Rivers Press on 8 July 2008. Language: EnglishAmerican author and historian Mark LeVine has published a book about the special role of Heavy Metal music in the Middle East and its relationship with […]
  • Saudi Arabia: Musicians’ freedom expanded

    ARTICLE ##PagePublishedLong## Saudi Arabia:Musicians’ freedom expanded There has been a quiet, yet marked increase in cultural activities in Saudi Arabia during the past couple of months. New music bands emerge, and the internet has become an important meeting place for underground musicians. “There is a revolution taking place,” stated the American tv news reporter Nic […]
  • Music & Islam – what’s the big fuss?

    FREEMUSE THEME ##PagePublishedLong## Music & Islam – what’s the big fuss? In Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Taliban continues to attack musicians and music shops, but what is the position on music in Islam? For several years Freemuse has stimulated research and documentation on issues of music and Islam. For instance: Battling over the public sphereTo […]
  • Marcel Khalife’s video statement – مارسـيل خليفة يَتحدَّث

    MARCEL KHALIFE ##PagePublishedLong## مارسـيل خليفة يَتحدَّث عن مَجنون ليلى In this statement the Lebanese singer and composer Marcel Khalife speaks (in Arabic language) about why artists must engage in the defence of creativity. See translation below.   Wimpy Wasp Player Flash Player upgrade required www.marcelkhalife.com Duration: 4:32 minutes. The video was recorded in Copenhagen, Denmark, […]
  • Switzerland: Call for ban on ‘satanic’ Swiss Eurovision song

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Switzerland:Religious groups call for a ban on ‘satanic’ Eurovision song At first an evangelical group asked Swiss Television and DJ Bobo to withdraw or re-write the Swiss entry song to the Eurovision Song Contest because the lyrics may encourage suicidal tendencies or occult practices. Then one Christian political party handed in a 49,000-signature […]
  • Saudi Arabia: Never write ‘music’ or ‘violin’

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Saudi Arabia:Never write ‘music’ or ‘violin’ Words such as ‘music’, ‘musician’, and ‘violin’ are considered offensive in Saudi Arabia, reports Arabnews.com In Saudia Arabia radio announcers are restricted from uttering words like “dance” or “party,” and according to Arabnews.com there is also a long list of particular words that are forbidden to mention […]
  • Iran: About 230 people arrested during a ‘satanistic’ music event

    ARTICLE ##PagePublishedLong## Iran:About 230 people arrested during a ‘satanic’ music event The news agency Reuters reports that more than 200 people were arrested during a police raid on an underground rap and rock concert in Iran. The raid was a part of an annual summer crackdown on “immoral behavior”. In Iran, alcohol as well as […]
  • USA: Printing plant refused to print ‘satanic’ album cover

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## USA: Printing plant refused to print ‘satanic’ album The forthcoming album from British death metal band Akercocke, entitled ‘Antichrist’, has caused uproar amongst religious groups in Ireland and USA. The US printing plant where the CD booklet is being manufactured has refused to print ‘satanic’ material The album is currently set to be […]
  • United Kingdom: Avoid ‘harmful forms of music’ in state schools, says Muslim council

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## United Kingdom:Avoid ‘harmful forms of music’ in state schools, says Muslim council Muslim Council of Britain has published recommendations on how music lessons should be taught to Muslims in state schools in the United Kingdom. The guidelines are criticised by two Muslim organisations Should a Muslim pupil in a state school be allowed […]
  • Denmark: Religious reservations labeled as ‘censorship’

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Denmark:Religious reservations labeled as ‘censorship’ In the aftermath of the Muhammed cartoon crisis, the criteria for what is termed as ‘censorship’ is gradually changing. On 5 December 2006, two bare shoulders of a female Norwegian singer became ‘breaking news’ in Denmark with the headline: “Muslim censorship in music show” By Freemuse The headline […]
  • USA: Singer’s religious imagery censored

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## USA:Singer’s religious imagery censored Crucifixion scene in a performance by American superstar Madonna is censored from NBC’s airing of the concert on 22 November 2006. During a passage in Madonna’s ‘Confessions Concert’, she ascends a mirrored cross, dressed as Christ and wearing a crown of thorns, and then sings the song ‘Live to […]
  • Syria: ‘Silenced voices’

    ARTICLE ##PagePublishedLong## Syria: Silenced voices In Syria, music is a mirror which shows the soul of the listener. The hedonist youth of Damascus sees fuel for the fun of their parties, fundamentalists suspect moral corruption, the authocratic regime fears the output of subversive minds. And just a few young musicians perceive a magic language of […]
  • Iran: ‘Unveiled: Art and Censorship in Iran’

    ARTICLE ##PagePublishedLong## Iran:’Unveiled: Art and Censorship in Iran’ Excerpt from Chapter 8 in the report ’Unveiled: Art and Censorship in Iran’, published by Article 19 in September 2006. Chapter 8 is about music in Iran Shahkar Binesh-Pajouh is a lecturer with a doctorate in urban planning, who blends rap music with Persian classical poetry to […]
  • Denmark: Teenager arrested for ‘death rap’

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Denmark: Teenager arrested for ‘death rap’ A 17-year-old teenager was arrested for sending death threats in the form of a rap song to the Danish politician Naser Khader, reports the news agency Ritzau The boy composed and produced a rap song in which he threatened Naser Khader and his family, and then he e-mailed it to Khader […]
  • Googoosh: Iran’s Daughter

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Googoosh: Iran’s DaughterThe film by Farhad Zamani tells the story of Googoosh – Iran’s pop diva, who is still banned from performing in her homeland. Googoosh was Iran’s most famous and beloved pop diva, until she was silenced following the 1979 Islamic revolution when female singers were labeled “temptresses” and forbidden to release records […]
  • Nigeria: ‘Leash on Their Tongues’

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  • Khoshnawaz brothers keep Herat’s music alive

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Khoshnawaz brothers keep Herat’s music aliveThe Khoshnawaz brothers, Herat’s folk musicians who used to perform at weddings, have been exiled to Iran. Five generations of folk music in their family, the brothers only know their rubab, tabla and harmonium. They sing to survive.The independent Afghan culture magazine Lemar – Aftaab has interviewed the […]
  • Singing Kharabat’s praises

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Singing Kharabat’s praises Kabul’s musicians defy violent and abusive conservativesDespite harrasment and killings, the sound of music can be heard once again coming from the ruins of Kabul’s Kharabat Street, the cradle of traditional Afghan songs for centuries.Article from The Institute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR) Related reading
  • Mali: Rose Skelton reports from Bamako: Can musical Mali play on?

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Mali: Rose Skelton reports from Bamako: Can musical Mali play on? Islamism is on the march and threatening to wipe out the country’s cultural heritage, wrote freelance journalist Rose Skelton in the British newspaper The Independent on 18 August 2012. Malian artists have exported their music with more success than perhaps any other […]
  • Pakistan: Manifestations of tolerance and acceptance of music, art and culture

    ARTICLES ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan:Manifestation of tolerance and acceptance of music, art and culture On Music Freedom Day 2013 at a local hotel in Peshawar, music lovers put their voices together to ensure the freedom of artistic and musical expressions. The participants boldly condemned militancy and extremism in all its forms. Also, at the Peshawar Press Club, […]
  • Iraq: Black Metal’s anti-religious message meets Islam

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Iraq: Black Metal’s anti-religious message meets Islam In July 2012 Kim Kelly from the newspaper the Atlantic finally got in touch with somebody he had tried to reach for over a year: 28-year-old Anahita who is the voice behind the black metal solo project Janaza as well as its sister project Seeds of […]
  • Pakistan: The undeclared ban on playing music lingers on

    ARTICLES ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan:The undeclared ban on playing music lingers on During the last decade, Pashto music has lost artists and singers of high repute. Some have preferred to seek political asylum in the foreign countries. Many are living a miserable life. Receiving threats from militants has become a routine matter. But have things improved lately? […]
  • Russia: Detention of Pussy Riot members extended again

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Russia:Detention of Pussy Riot members extended again On 20 June 2012, a Tagansky district court ruled to keep the three detained band members of Pussy Riot in prison until 24 July 2012 while the police probe continues. Since February 2012, three band members of the all-female punk rock band from Moscow have been […]
  • Egypt: “I’m the only woman in Egypt who screams”

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Video recordings from ‘All that is Banned is Desired’:“I’m the only woman in Egypt who screams” In the session ‘OVERCOMING: WOMEN; ART AND EGYPT’, filmmaker Petr Lom introduces a dialogue between musician Sherine Amr and writer, theatre director and actress Sondos Shabayek. Sherine Amr has described herself as “the only woman in Egypt who screams”. […]
  • Mali: The day the music stopped

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Video recordings from ‘All that is Banned is Desired’:The day the music stopped In the session ‘THE DAY THE MUSIC STOPPED: MALI’, journalist and Freemuse Vice Chair Daniel Brown talks to Manny Ansar who is Festival Director of the Desert Festival in Mali. Manny Ansar gives an insight into the difficulties faced by musicians in the […]
  • Russia: Interview with released Pussy Riot member

    ARTICLES ##PagePublishedLong## Russia:First interview with released Pussy Riot member Index on Censorship had the exclusive opportunity to interview Pussy Riot member Ekatrina Samutsevich who was freed by a Moscow court on 10 October 2012. The interview took place during the same week as Samutsevich’s friends and fellow band mates Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were […]
  • Mali: The day the music stopped

    ARTICLES ##PagePublishedLong## Mali: The day the music stopped “We do not want Satan’s music,” said an Islamist spokesman as he banned the broadcasting of all western music from his stronghold in Gao, a city that finds itself within the most literal and brutal Sharia jurisdiction in the world today; the ‘red zone’ in northern Mali. […]
  • Somalia: Poet, playwright and songwriter killed by unknown gunmen

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Somalia: Poet and songwriter killed by unknown gunmen Somali poet, playwright and songwriter Warsame Shire Awale was killed in the country’s capital, Mogadishu, on 29 October 2012 in the evening, reported BBC World. Warsame Shire Awale who was in his 60s worked for the Radio Kulmiye where he wrote and acted in radio […]
  • Iran: Exiled Iranian musician responds upright to death threats

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Iran: Exiled Iranian musician responds upright to death threats This interview with Shahin Najafi and G Related reading on freemuse.org
  • Pakistan: We want to defeat terrorism through music, says culture minister

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: We want to defeat terrorism through music, says culture minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Khyber Pakthunkhwa’s culture minister, told Inter Press Service in an interview that his government wants to reverse the policies of the former MMA government which banned musical concerts. “We want to defeat terrorism through music and art,” the minister […]
  • Iraq: Documentary film about a musician’s struggle to keep music alive

    FILM ##PagePublishedLong## Iraq: Documentary film about a musician’s struggle to keep music alive Produced in Iraq in 2011, the 15-minutes documentary ‘Sing your song’ details the obstacles and constraints a musician and his band face as a result of the actions of extremist Islamist groups and the unappreciative attitude of local officials. Majid is a […]
  • Somalia: Religious extremists storm music radio station

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Somalia: Religious extremists storm music radio station First the militant extremist group Al-Shabaab ordered Radio Afgoye, the only radio station in the lower Shabelle region, to refrain from broadcasting songs and music. When the radio station’s management refused to do this, the militias carried out an illegal takeover of the station. This was […]
  • Pakistan: Punjab Assembly bans concerts in educational institutions

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: Punjab Assembly bans concerts in educational institutions On 24 January 2012 the Punjab Assembly in Lahore passed a resolution that bans holding of ‘objectionable’ musical concerts in all public and private educational institutions of the province with 90 million people. This move came two weeks after three students were killed in a stampede […]
  • Pakistan: Music returns to some of Pakistan’s tribal areas

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: Music returns to some of Pakistan’s tribal areas In parts of Pakistan’s tribal areas, music is starting to return, reported Free Speech Radio News in a radio report on 16 January 2012. The music starts, and young boys begin to clap and dance. After four years without music, people are enthusiastic and […]
  • Pakistan: Artists camp reflect on aspects of intolerance and terrorism

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: Artists camp reflect on aspects of intolerance and terrorism In Peshawar, Pakistan, on 7-27 May 2012, a two week camp for international artists aims to discuss and understand the phenomenon of terror. The camp is entitled ‘Face Off’. The camp and its workshops will include multidisciplinary artist from USA, United Kingdom, France, […]
  • Mali: Music banned from the radio in Timbuktu

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Mali: Music banned from the radio in Timbuktu Rebels captured the town of 50,000 citizens in northern Mali in April, and since the takeover in April, the Islamists of Ansar Dine, supported by Al Qaeda, have gained the upper hand over the Tuaregs. They are now aggressively promoting their hard-edged brand of Islamic […]
  • Indonesia: Punk concert raided by the police

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Indonesia: Punk concert raided by the police Police in the Aceh province raided a punk concert, detaining 65 punk fans – shaving the young men’s heads and cutting the women’s hair, stripping away their body piercings and throwing them in pools of water for “spiritual cleansing”. After the bath and change of clothes, […]
  • Iraq: Bomb explosion at a music store kills 32

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Iraq: Bomb explosion at a music store kills 32 Two bomb attacks at a music store in a Shiite neighborhood of Baghdad killed 32 people on 27 October 2011. The two blasts, which took place at a music store in the evening on 27 October 2011, killed 32 people and wounded 71 others, […]
  • Iraq: Radio station closed for playing music “contrary to local morality”

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Iraq:Radio station closed for playing music “contrary to local morality” The radio station Al-Sada, the only independent broadcaster in the province of Al-Qadisiya, has come under severe pressure. On 26 October 2011, a provincial council decided to close the station on the grounds that its programmes contained music which was “contrary to local […]
  • Malaysia/Philippines: Religious groups unite in bid to silence pop singer

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Malaysia / Philippines: Religious groups unite in bid to silence pop singer Christian and Muslim groups attempt to ban American superstar Lady Gaga’s shows during her Asia tour, calling her music, persona and style the ‘work of Satan’, while tens of thousands of her fans in Seoul, Jakarta and Manila campaign for the […]
  • Pakistan: Taliban campaign against music still in full swing

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: Taliban campaign against music still in full swing Militants bombed or torched more than a dozen music shops in the second week of November 2011 in the Swabi district of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province and the city of Miramshah in North Waziristan, according to numerous reports, wrote Majeed Babar for Radio Free Europe […]
  • Russia: Detention of Pussy Riot members extended to three months

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Russia:Detention of Pussy Riot members extended to three months Following the punk group Pussy Riot’s protest song in Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral on 21 February 2012, Russian authorities arrested three women who are held in detention until their case comes before court on 24 June. Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were arrested on […]
  • Pakistan: Freemuse network will document attacks on musicians

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: Freemuse network will document attacks on musicians At a two day workshop held in Islamabad 12-13 November a Pakistani network was set up in support of musicians and composers at risk. During the past years several artists have been abducted, killed and persecuted in Pakistan. Hundreds of CD shops have been bombed, […]
  • Pakistan: Four CD shops destroyed in explosion

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: Four CD shops destroyed in explosion Four music shops were completely destroyed after an explosion in a market in the Takhtbhai district situated in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhuwa province, reported Pakistan Press Foundation via IFEX, the International Freedom of Expression Exchange. 21 other businesses were partially damaged along with the four CD shops. The […]
  • Mali: Islamists have banned music in northern region

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Mali: Islamists have banned music in northern region In Kidal, heartland of the Islamist Ansar Dine group, music has been replaced by prayer readings on the local radio. The group wants to impose strict sharia law across Mali. In three short days in the beginning of April 2012, a mix of rebel forces […]
  • South Africa in 1989: CD album banned for offending Christians

    ARTICLES ##PagePublishedLong## South Arica:CD album banned for offending Christians Because of its title, the album ‘Bigger than Jesus’ by Kalahari Surfers was banned in 1989 for blasphemy and for the offending of Christians. The music was later re-released with a new album title, ‘Beach Bomb’. By Michael Drewett The Kalahari Surfers were a South African […]
  • Indonesia: Dangdut songs banned for ‘corrupting society’

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Indonesia: Dangdut songs banned for ‘corrupting society’ 10 popular Dangdut songs were banned in a province of Indonesia for being ‘pornographic’, reported BBC News. In BBC-reporter Karishma Vaswani’s words, Dangdut music sounds like “a cross between techno and Bollywood, but it is 100 per cent Indonesian.” A growing and vocal group of conservative […]
  • Uzbekistan: Official ban on use of religious themes in art

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Uzbekistan:Official ban on use of religious themes in art The Uzbek national security service (SNB) has issued a strict warning to the country’s leading artists against using religious themes in their work, reported Uznews.net. The warning was issued at a special conference held at the end of October at the Tashkent Academy Theatre. […]
  • Israel: Women sing out in musical protest against orthodox prohibition

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Israel: Women sing out in musical protest against orthodox prohibition In response to the orthodox prohibition against women singers. Hila Bunyovich-Hoffman has announced a Tel Aviv street protest in which a group of women will stand in public and sing, to make their voices heard. On Friday 11 November 2011, Hila Bunyovich-Hoffman and […]
  • Pakistan: Bomb blast destroys music and video market in Peshawar

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: Bomb blast destroys music and video market in Peshawar Six people were killed and over 37 injured in a bomb explosion on Monday 19 September 2011 that targeted a music and video CD market in Peshawar, reported Pakistan Press Foundation and other news agencies. After a couple of years where the terrorists […]
  • Pakistan: Broad instability spelled an end to art in Swat Valley

    ARTICLES ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan:Broad instability spelled an end to art in Swat Valley In-depth article about the development for artists in Swat Valley since 2007, written by Shaheen Buneri, a journalist working for Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty’s Mashaal Radio in Prague, Czech Republic. Three excerpts: The changes began in July 2007 when Maulana Fazlullah, […]
  • Pakistan: Threats from the Taliban sends sarod player into exile

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: Threats from the Taliban sends sarod player into exile Asad Qazalbash, Pakistan’s only accomplished sarod player, has left the country due to a declaration by the Pakistani Taliban that music is un-Islamic, wrote blogger Mohammad Shehzad on 10 August 2011. Asad Qazalbash who was living and working as a musician in Islamabad […]
  • Iran: Government bans famous Ramadan singer

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Iran: Government bans famous Ramadan singer The 70-year-old singer Mohammad-Reza Shajarian’s beloved Ramadan song ‘Rabbana’ is banned by the Iranian authorities, reported Karen Zarindast from Iran in a video clip for the BBC. In August 2010, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty reported the same, but at that time the Iranian state television official […]
  • Pakistan: The Taliban’s war on music has done lasting damage

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: The Taliban’s war on music has done lasting damage It will take a long time for Swat’s musical culture to recover from the Taliban’s crackdown on music, reported Shaheen Buneri from Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty on 3 August 2011. The Swat Valley was once the only place in Pakistan’s Pashtun […]
  • Lebanon: American pop song banned by Lebanese radio

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Lebanon: American pop song banned by Lebanese radio The American superstar, singer and songwriter Lady Gaga — topping the music charts in 21 countries, presently UK’s most played artist in the radio — has stirred religious controversy for being ‘offensive to Christianity’. The song ‘Judas’ from Lady Gaga’s top-selling new album ‘Born This […]
  • Pakistan: CD markets bombed – once again

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: CD markets bombed — once again The bombings of CD markets in Chato Chowk Mardan and Umarzai Charsadda in beginning of February 2011 suggests that militants are once again threatening the entertainment industry in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province as well as elsewhere in Pakistan, reported Central Asia Online. A 2007-2008 wave of CD […]
  • Iran: Iranian authorities inspired by the Nazis?

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Iran: Iranian authorities inspired by the Nazis? ‘Degenerate music’ (Entartete) was a term used by the Nazis in Germany in the 1930s to describe certain forms of music. The same term is increasingly being adapted by Iranian authorities. According to Tehran-Emrouz, an Iranian daily newspaper, Tehran’s chief of police Hossein Sajedi-Nia has revealed […]
  • Pakistan: Terror campaign by religious militants against Sufi worshippers

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: Terror campaign by religious militants against Sufi worshippers In the sixteenth attack on Sufi shrines in two years, Taliban suicide bombers killed 49 and injured 93 Sufi devotees at a shrine where they were celebrating the anniversary of its founder’s death with music and meditation. Sufi Muslim devotees are condemned as ‘un-Islamic’ […]
  • Nepal: Song banned in television for religious defamation

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Nepal: Song banned in television for religious defamation A promo of an upcoming album of Komal Oli was allegedly banned from Nepal Television because of it is against Hindu sentiments, reported a Nepali blogger. Singer Komal Oli’s promo was broadcasted in Nepali state television, NTV, for a couple of weeks, but then, in […]
  • Pakistan: Anti-music militancy increases in the north-western mountain region

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: Anti-music militancy increases in north-western mountain area Militants groups are targeting music, films and everything else they see as obscene, and the situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (previously known as the North-West Frontier Province) is deteriorating, reported Hanan Habibzai from Peshawar on 11 March 2011. Music shops in Peshawar are struggling to stay […]
  • Israel: Singer punished with 39 lashes by rabbis

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Israel: Singer punished with 39 lashes by rabbis “Artists who make men and women attend performances or dance together, have no place in the world to come,” says the Israeli rabbi Ben Zion Mutsafi. Because of a performance in front of a “mixed audience” of men and women, the singer Erez Yechiel was […]
  • Uzbekistan: Rock and rap music denounced as ‘evil’

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Uzbekistan:Rock and rap music denounced as ‘evil’ Uzbekistan’s state television issued an unequivocal denunciation of rock and rap music as a Western liberal excess, saying the music was epitomized by sadism, drug addiction and immorality, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP) on 21 February 2011. AFP reported that a tv documentary made in the style […]
  • Pakistan: Fundamentalists attacked a music gathering

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: Fundamentalists attacked a music gathering Freemuse has received a report that in the evening on 5 September 2010 a group of religious fundamentalists attacked a music gathering in Nowshera District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The group took some singers hostage for few hours. The singers were there to perform and collect donations for […]
  • Somalia: Radio station wins award from Reporters without Borders

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Somalia: Radio station wins award from Reporters without Borders On 9 December 2010 the press freedom advocacy organisation Reporters without Borders awarded the Somali radio station Radio Shabelle with the 2010 Media of the Year prize. Radio Shabelle defied the deadly addicts of Islamists of not to air songs and music by re-starting […]
  • Pakistan: Singer kidnapped by religious militants

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: Singer kidnapped by religious militants On 26 November 2010, unidentified militants kidnapped Musharraf Bengash, a Pashtun singer from the Mir Ali area in North Waziristan. Later, a jirga negotiated his release, reported Shaheen Buneri from Radio Mashaal. Musharraf Bengash sings mainly of rural themes, with his music embodying a nationalistic zeal. Shaheen […]
  • Somalia: Silent airwaves – This is the sound of censorship

    ARTICLES ##PagePublishedLong## Somalia: Silent airwaves – This is the sound of censorship The music died in Somalia when, on 14 April 2010, radio stations in the country’s capital Mogadishu were ordered to cease playing all music. In a nation under a government that has already banned wearing bras, musical ringtones and in some areas made […]
  • Saudi Arabia: King limits clerics who can issue fatwas

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Saudi Arabia: Saudi king limits clerics who can issue fatwas After a Saudi cleric has declared that “there is no clear text or ruling in Islam that singing and music are haram or religiously forbidden” a decree sent by King Abdullahs office states that only senior Islamic clerics appointed by him can issue […]
  • Pakistan: Music school closed after threats from extremists

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: Music school closed after threats from extremists A group of religious extremists threatened Asad Qazilbash, a renowned sarood player in Islamabad, to stop giving lessons and remove the signboard for his music school. Asad Qazilbash was shell-shocked when he learned that his 12-year-old son, while playing in the street with his friends, […]
  • Pakistan: Musicians and artists are returning to Swat Valley

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: Musicians and artists are returning to Swat Valley After a military operation against the religious extremists, artists are now returning back to Swat Valley in northern Pakistan, reported The Express Tribune. Fazal Khaliq wrote for The Express Tribune: “The Swat valley, once famous site for shooting local Pashto dramas and video songs, […]
  • Saudi Arabia: Ministry bans music and dancing in schools

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Saudi Arabia:Ministry bans music and dancing in schools Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education issued on 9 June 2010 a circular to all schools in the kingdom ordering that no music or dancing be allowed during upcoming graduation celebrations, reported Muhammad Al-Sulami of Arab News on 10 June 2010. Graduation celebrations, the circular added, are […]
  • Somalia: Broadcaster ignores death threats and plays music

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Somalia: Broadcaster ignores death threats and plays music Somali Islamic extremists have banned music on the airwaves, but the organisers of Somalia’s newest radio station, Bar-Kulan, ignore their death threats and music ban, reported Globe and Mail. Because Bar-Kulan (Somali phrase for “meeting place”) refuses to obey the extremists, its 50 employees of […]
  • Iran: Authorities warn about punishments for playing banned music in taxis

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Iran:Authorities warn about punishments for playing banned music in taxis If taxi drivers play banned music in their taxis, it could lead to cancellation of their taxi permit and confiscation of their cars, warned a government official. This was reported to Radio Free Europe by Golnaz Esfandiari. Rasul Abbasi, the director-general for transportation […]
  • Press release: New Freemuse report about censorship of heavy metal music

    PRESS RELEASE##PageSearchDescription## ##PagePublishedLong## Freemuse report about censorship of heavy metal “We play heavy metal because our lives are heavy metal…” From the underground to the mainstream heavy metal is a global phenomenon attracting thousands of fans – but along the way it has gained many enemies too. “Long haired music,” as it has been described […]
  • Russia: City bans heavy metal music in caf

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Russia:City bans heavy metal music in cafés, clubs and restaurants Authorities in the West-Russian city of Belgorod has banned performances of heavy metal music in a bid to “save the city’s youth”. Governor Evgenie Savchenko in Belgorod, situated 500 kilometres south of Moscow, wants to “promote the suppression of satanic activity,” and to […]
  • Launch of Freemuse’s new report on censorship of heavy metal music

    FREEMUSE REPORT ##PagePublishedLong## Take part in the launch of Freemuse’s heavy metal report Mark LeVine is online, ready to communicate with you on Facebook and Skype, from 6 PM to 8 PM GMT on Monday 22 February 2010. SkypeIn order to communicate with Mark LeVine on Skype, you need to establish contact with his skype […]
  • Iran: 80 young people arrested at illegal concert

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Iran:80 young people arrested at illegal concert Iranian police detained 80 young men and women for “lustful pleasure-seeking” activities at an illegal concert, Tehran’s chief prosecutor was quoted by ISNA news agency as saying. Public prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi was quoted in the Kayhan newspaper on 7 May 2010 as saying that moral […]
  • Iran: Concert banned because of presence of women musicians

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Iran Concert banned because of presence of women musicians Iranian authorities have cancelled a concert of traditional Iranian singer Homayoun Shajarian because two members of the band are women, the ISNA news agency reported. Homayoun Shajarian is the son of Mohammad Reza Shajarian – a legendary singer in Iran. Homayou has performed with […]
  • Somalia: The government insists: radios must play music

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Somalia: The government insists: radios must play music Four private radio stations in Mogadishu have been accused of collusion with radical Islamists over music ban. By Abdulkadir M. Wa’aysAt a press conference on Sunday 19 April 2010, the Secretary General for the government’s regional administration in the capital Mogadishu Abdikafi Hilowle Osman threatened […]
  • Book by Salman Ahmad: ‘Rock & Roll Jihad’

    BOOKS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan / USA:Salman Ahmad: ‘Rock & Roll Jihad – A Muslim Rock Star’s Revolution’ Salman Ahmad was lead singer and guitarist in the Pakistani rock band Junoon, one of the most popular rock groups in South Asia with 30 million record sales. In his book ‘Rock & Roll Jihad’ he desribes his encounters with […]
  • Iran: Music from ‘below the radar’ distributed on free CD

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Iran:Music from ‘below the radar’ distributed on free CD From a country where music is sometimes considered a crime, a compilation of underground rock, hip-hop and heavy metal music, compiled by the music centre Bar-Ax, was published as a free bonus-CD with the April-May 2010 issue of the British music magazine Songlines, no. 67. The […]
  • Pakistan: Five injured and 10 music shops damaged by bomb blast

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: Five injured and 10 music shops damaged by bomb blast Five people were injured and 10 shops damaged in a bomb blast on 28 January 2010 in a music and video market in the small town of Jand in Attock District of Pakistan’s Punjab province. According to press reports, some construction workers […]
  • Somalia: Interview with Somali music shop owner in exile

    ARTICLE ##PagePublishedLong## Somalia / Kenya:Interview with Somali music shop owner in exile Fatma Adow is one of 25 women who on November 2008 faced the wrath of Somali militiamen the for taking part in a folklore dance galore in Somalia. She was interviewed in her Kenyan exile by Suleiman Mbatiah for IslamOnline.net “How can our […]
  • Somalia: 14 radio stations in Somalia’s capital turned off music

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Somalia: 14 radio stations in Somalia’s capital turned off music All radio stations in Mogadishu stopped playing music on 13 April 2010, following an ultimatum by hardline Islamist militia, reported AFP. By Freemuse Tuesday 13 April 2010 was quickly declared ‘the day the music died’ in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu. “But who killed it […]
  • Freemuse report on censorship of heavy metal music

    FREEMUSE REPORT ##PagePublishedLong## Mark LeVineHEADBANGING AGAINST REPRESSIVE REGIMES – Censorship of heavy metal in the Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia and China Report no. 9 Freemuse, Copenhagen, 2010ISSN: 1601-2127. ISBN 978-87-988163-3-1.    104 pages. Purchase printed version Right-click to download(On Mac: CTRL-click) Review Metalunderground.com – 4 March 2011:Review by Rockstar_Scribbler“Immediately after the first couple pages […]

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