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Pakistan: Religious music prohibition discussed in popular movie

6 August 2007

The highest grossing film of Pakistan of all time, ‘In the name of God’, is a story about a musician who gives up music because a fundamentalist cleric says music is forbidden according to Islam.   The Pakistani Urdu-language movie ‘In the name of God’ (‘Khuda Kay Liye’) has won …

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Pakistan: Religious extremists destroyed 25 music shops

4 July 2007

In June 2007 alone, there were more than 20 bomb attacks on music shops in north-west Pakistan. On 4 July, five more music shops were set ablaze with petrol for “promoting obscenity and destroying religious values” By Pakistan Press Foundation, PPF, in Karachi The incident on 4 July 2007 happened …

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Iran: Gradual changes through modern technology

4 July 2007

The daily pan-Arabic newspaper Ashark al Awsat reports that changes are introduced gradually among the citizens of Iran – despite official bans and censorship. The article describes how there are two worlds in the country – contradicting each other and yet existing side by side.   Mohammed Hossien Saffar Harandi, …

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Turkey: Ferhat Tunc: “I will continue my struggle”

25 June 2007

Despite death threats and continuous court cases, Kurdish-Turkish singer and writer Ferhat Tunç continues to critise the Turkish court system and the government. In this statement of his, Tunç says: “I am not an artist who sings poppy songs… and I will cry out the reality of this country even louder.” By …

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Turkey: Deceased Kurdish singer Ahmet Kaya still controversial

7 June 2007

Turkish artist Ahmet Kaya (1957–2000) remains controversial seven years after his death. On 4 June 2007 three people in Adapazarı were attacked for wearing a T-shirt with the printing of ‘Ahmet Kaya’   The argument developed into a lynch attempt, reported the Turkish human rights organisation Freedom of Expression Association. …

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Turkey: Kurdish singer on trial for praising rebel leader

29 May 2007

On 22 May 2007 a prosecutor demanded that the Kurdish singer Xemgin Birhat be sentenced to five years in prison for performing a song that praises imprisoned Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan Xemgin Birhat (real name: Zülfü Kızıldemir) was detained in March 2007 after performing his Kurdish-language song ‘Mezin Apo’, …

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Bahrain: Responses to attack on Khalife and Haddad

20 May 2007

A performance at the “Spring of Culture” festival was attacked by fundamentalist members of the Bahraini parliament as being in violation of Islamic morals and Sharia laws. Below are three initial responses to the controversy – from the artists themselves, from a group of Arab intellectuals, and from Freemuse. • The …

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Middle East: Dossier on music, bans and censorship

16 May 2007

The Internet portal Qantara.de has produced a dossier entitled ‘Middle Eastern Musical Worlds – Between East and West’. It includes issues of music bans and censorship in the region The dossier contains portraits of young Turkish and Arab pop stars and traditional musicians in Europe, and reports on current initiatives …

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Selda Bagcan: speech – November 2006

15 May 2007

Selda Bağcan has sold albums counted in millions, and she has been accused with sentences that accumulate to over 500 years of imprisonment if they were carried out. In this testimony she speaks about her personal experiences of music censorship in Turkey. See translation below. Selda Bağcan took part in …

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Algeria: Rabah Donquishoot

14 May 2007

Rabah is a musician and rapper who has produced a ‘Music Freedom Day’ signature song for Freemuse together with his group MBS and rappers around the world. In this interview he speaks about music censorship in Algeria and about the role of the Algerian musician Matoub Lounes who was assassinated …

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