Pakistani Rock Star Declares ‘Rock & Roll Jihad’ Against Extremists

From Radio Free Europe:

Salman Salman Ahmad was a 19-year-old medical student in 1982 when he performed music on stage for the first time in his native Pakistan. Having just returned from six years in the United States, where he'd earned enough money clearing restaurant tables and delivering newspapers to buy an electric guitar, the future Pakistani rock star began to play a song by the rock group Van Halen at a talent show in Lahore. Suddenly, Ahmad heard cries of rage in Urdu from a gang of bearded young men who stormed toward the stage. They were an early manifestation of the Taliban: Islamic student extremists affiliated with a local religious party, acting as self-appointed music police.

While some of the extremists threw burqas and chadors over the women in the audience, Ahmad says one bearded student jumped on stage and grabbed his electric guitar — “his eyes filled with a madness that has nothing to do with God” as he smashed the precious instrument beyond repair. Ahmad tells RFE/RL it was a transformational moment in his life — the moment when he declared “rock and roll jihad” against the “ideology of hate.” “The Taliban and their brand of Islam is not Islam at all. Islam doesn't teach you to kill innocent women, children, and men. Islam doesn't teach you to commit suicide,” Ahmad says. “That's haram,” or forbidden. Ahmad says that “as long as the Taliban pursue a strategy of violence, subjugation of women, destroying girls schools, killing musicians,” he doesn't see how anyone can “reconcile with that sort of mentality and ideology. The ideology of hate, the ideology of terrorism, has no place in Islam, or anywhere else in the world, and I will continue saying that.”

More here. (Note: Salman is a dear friend, and above everything else, one of the most decent human beings I have ever met. Salman Zindabad!)