Iran: Reviewer of music book sentenced to jail

3 June 2005
Banafsheh Samgis, a cultural critic at the newspaper Iran, has been sentenced to jail for writing that the prophet Muhammed liked music played by women

Banafsheh Samgis has been accused of “insulting and undermining the holy tenets of islam” and “distorting Islamic history” in a favorable review she wrote on the book ‘Iranian Women Musicians’. She was faulted for writing that the prophet Mohammed used to enjoy listening to music sung and played by women musicians, and that female artists have practiced their craft throughout Islamic history.

Banafsheh Samgis was questioned in court and sentenced to one year in prison by the State Court in Iran. Some sources state that the sentence was shortened later on.

The author of the book, Tuka Maleki, has also been questioned and tried together with others involved in the publishing of the book and the review. The office of Iran, the newspaper who published the review was closed down for a short period, but reopened after protests from the public. The case continued in court, though.

It is not clear what exactly happened after the court cases; who was sentences to jail and for how long time.


The book ‘Iranian Women Musicians’ originally has this title: ‘Zanan-e Mosighi-ye Iran: az ostoreh ta emrooz’. Publisher: Ketabek Khorshid.
It can be purchased online at the Iranian book store Irani Books:

Sources: ‘Blasphemous Iranian article saying prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP), Hazrat Sakina (PBUH) liked listening to music causes outrage’

Reporters Sans Fronti

Related reading
Jean-Christophe Servant
“Which way Nigeria?” Music under Threat: A Question of Money, Morality, Self-Censorship and the Sharia
Freemuse, Copenhagen, April 2003
ISSN 1601-2127
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