Musicians Strike Against Jihad
June 7th, 2010
Pakistani musician Salman Ahmad believes exposure to art and engagement with art can protect young Pakistanis from militancy and fundamentalism. The ’soft’ approach to countering extremism is more effective than air strikes and military campaigns. He should know, he’s sold over 30 million albums and represents a powerful voice against violent Islamism across the Asian sub-continent and among Muslim communities in the Western Diaspora.
In an interview in the Independent, he said: “What extremists fear – and this is what arts have the power to do – is the opening up of people’s minds, [...] For people who want to control the social agenda, culture is a threat. When you look at Pakistan, 100 million of the 150 million people there are under the age of 18. The extremists know that and that’s their target market. I remember once an imam told me ,’If thousands of kids started going to rock concerts, who would come to my khutbahs [sermons]?’”
Ahmad’s band Junoon work with the Salman and Salima Global Wellness Initiative to promote their message of empowerment through creative dissent, and against violence.