Norway/UK: “My first love was always music”

14 December 2012


In the session ‘STOP THIS FILTH: ARTISTS UNDER THREATS’, ex-singer Deeyah and actor Arshad Hussain testifies about serious threaths and an actual abduction, a reality faced by some performing artists due to social and cultural pressures in Afghanistan as well as Norway. 

Arshad Hussain is the man behind several initiatives to protect artists and Deeyah is fighting for women’s right to choose.

In this interview, Deeyah talks about how she became aware of Freemuse: “Freemuse were among the few groups of people that I came across, that genuinely understood what I was going through.”



In the conference session, Arshad Hussain talked about his abduction, a consequence of how performing artists such as actors and singers, are not accepted in the Pashtun society.

Deeyah told the story of how her upbringing in a liberal music-loving home in Norway collided with her family background where it was not accepted for a woman to be a singer. “What is happening in Peshawar is also happening here”, she said.


Please note: Deeyah’s contribution begins at 09:10 into the video.

Information about this video clip
This video shows Session 2 on Day 2 of the conference ‘All that is Banned is desired’ held in Oslo, Norway, in October 2012.

Deeyah, Music Producer (Norway/UK)
Arshad Hussain, Actor and Culture Activist (Pakistan)

Ole Reitov, Programme Manager, Freemuse (Denmark)

Conference website
To see the more sessions and interviews from the conference, please visit:

 Official Facebook page of the conference



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