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Most frequently requested article on this topic

The burning music question in Islam
About religious music prohibition: Is music allowed or is it not allowed in Islam? Can we get a straight answer?

Articles and news stories concerning music and religious issues
(most recent first):

Tanzania: Hip-hop musicians threatened by religious group
'Stern and prompt measures' will be taken against any musician who use the name of Jesus Christ in song lyrics, warned a religious spokesperson to the newspaper Majira
01 October 2007
Pakistan: Attack on hotel where music was played
Dozens of local Taliban extremists attacked and ransacked a hotel in Mingora in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province, because people were dancing and playing music there
18 September 2007
Afghanistan: Wedding musicians out of work because of religious ban
Musicians in the Balkh province are out of work since a new fatwa - a ban - was issued on wedding parties by a religious council in July 2007
30 August 2007
Pakistan: Taliban group issues new ban on sale of music
If you sell music CDs and cassettes in Zargari and other areas in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan, you will now be fined 50,000 rupees
23 August 2007
3rd Freemuse World Conference - report
Read all the speeches and testimonials from the 3rd Freemuse World Conference on music censorship, held in Istanbul in 2006
20 August 2007
Iran: About 230 people arrested during a ‘satanistic’ music event
As part of an annual summer crackdown on “immoral behavior” about 230 people were arrested during a police raid on an underground rap and rock concert
07 August 2007
Pakistan: Religious extremists destroyed 25 music shops
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
04 July 2007
Freemuse: Religious fanatics a threat to music
Freemuse presentation at the IASPM conference for popular music researchers from the whole world - in 2007 held in Mexico City
27 June 2007
IASPM Conference 2007: Speech by Ole Reitov
Freemuse presentation at the IASPM conference for popular music researchers from the whole world - in 2007 held in Mexico City
27 June 2007
Vietnam: British pianist banned from performing
Award-winning British concert pianist Stephen Hough has had a planned performance in Hanoi cancelled, evidently over his gay identity
30 May 2007
Middle East: Dossier on music, bans and censorship
The internet portal has produced a dossier entitled 'Middle Eastern Musical Worlds'. It includes issues of music bans and censorship in the Islamic world
16 May 2007
USA: Printing plant refused to print 'satanic' album cover
A forthcoming death metal album from Akercocke has caused uproar amongst religious groups in Ireland and USA. A US printing plant has refused to print 'satanic' material
16 May 2007
Iran: Prohibition of music in holy city
In a speech in official Friday praying on 11 May 2007 the Imam of Mashhad banned practicing of music and ordered to close all of the music institutes in the holy city
15 May 2007
Afghanistan: Music download shop attacked, two killed
Two people were killed and several wounded by a bomb that exploded in a music download shop in Afghanistan's southeastern town of Khost on 22 April 2007
09 May 2007
Pakistan: Intensified campaign against music
Religious militants in north-western Pakistan continue violent attacks on property belonging to people who sell or listen to music
08 May 2007
Iran: 'Half Moon' - film about women's right to sing
'Half Moon' is a prize-winning feature film which talks of women's right to perform in public, and to participate in the artistic development of a land
25 April 2007
Iran: Six musicians arrested
Authorities in Iran have reportedly detained at least six members of underground music bands and shut down their studios, Radio Farda reported
24 April 2007
Pakistan: Music business faces serious threats in North West Pakistan
1,200 owners of music centres have been warned by Islamic hardliners to close down, and on 21 April 2007, three more video and music shops were blown up by a bomb
23 April 2007
Bahrain: Freemuse declaration read aloud
A request to Bahranian politicians in response to fundamentalist attacks on culture festival
18 April 2007
Pakistan: Religious extremists request radio station to stop its music programmes
Dera Radio was asked by unknown callers to stop it's music programmes because they are "un-Islamic" and "against shariate"
18 April 2007
Marcel Khalife's video statement - مارسـيل خليفة يَتحدَّث
Video statement from Lebanese singer Marcel Khalife on the 'Spring of Culture' affair in Bahrain
11 April 2007
Pakistan: Music CDs burned in the streets of Islamabad
Emotionally charged religious youth screamed slogans against perceived immorality as they burned a pile of music CDs and cassettes in Pakistan's capital on 6 May 2007
08 April 2007
Pakistan: Fear and persecution follows Afghan musicians
The fear and persecution which forced Afghan singers to leave their country now has followed them to their exile in Peshawar in Pakistan
04 April 2007
Bahrain: Responses to attack on Khalife and Haddad
Statements from Marcel Khalife & Qassim Haddad, Freemuse, and intellectuals from the Arab world regarding the attack on "Spring of Culture" performance in Bahrain
30 March 2007
Switzerland: Call for ban on 'satanic' Swiss Eurovision song
A political party submitted a petition against the Swiss Eurovision Song Contest entry 'Vampires Are Alive', saying that the song's lyrics promote Satanism and the occult
28 March 2007
Tobago: Religious call for ban on gay pop star ignored
Christian church leaders in Trinidad & Tobago demanded the British pop star Sir Elton John be banned from performing in their country because he is gay. The call was ignored.
28 March 2007
Bahrain: Marcel Khalife causes fury among Islamists
Members of parliament in Bahrain attacked performance by Lebanese composer Marcel Khalife as being a violation of Islamic morals and sharia laws
27 March 2007
Iraq: Musicians and music listeners get killed
Musicians, music shop owners and music fans flee from death squads of Islamic extremists in Baghdad. It is no longer safe to sell music in central and southern Iraq
20 March 2007
Pakistan: Islamic music prohibition discussed on Danish tv
'Our prophet was born to do away with music', a mullah from Pakistan's second-largest mosque was quoted as saying on the Danish tv-channel DR1 on 18 March 2007
19 March 2007
Pakistan: Extremists kill one, injure two in music shop attacks
Extremist religious groups intensify their campaign against all forms of entertainment in north-west Pakistan. Attacks on music centres left one killed and two seriously injured
18 March 2007
Bashar Shammout: Freemuse and the Middle East
Video interview with the Bashar Shammout, member of Freemuse's executive committee. He speaks about music censorship in the Middle East - and Freemuse's work there
15 March 2007
Pakistan: Music and video shop blown away
"Close within three days – or you will be blown away." This threat by the religious extremists became reality when a video centre was blown away on 13 March 2007
15 March 2007
Pakistan: Music centres threatened by religious extremists
A campaign launched by a religious leader against listening to music has taken a dangerous turn in Swat Valley of North-West Frontier Province, reports our correspondent
10 March 2007
Norway: Musicians persecuted in the name of God
In a leading Norwegian newspaper, priest Carl Petter Opsahl lists about a number of cases where musicians have been censored and persecuted on religious grounds
05 March 2007
Pakistan: Fine for playing music in taxi, music shop attacked
The Taliban in Pakistan's in tribal areas bordering Afghanistan are imposing a fine of 500 rupees for any one playing music in public, reports several news agencies
03 March 2007
Pakistan: Bus drivers threatened not to play music
An organisation called Mujahideen Bajaur has warned public transport drivers in Bajaur region to stop the “un-Islamic act” of playing music in buses
28 February 2007
UK: Avoid 'harmful forms of music' in state schools, says Muslim council
Muslim Council of Britain has published recommendations on how music lessons should be taught to Muslims in state schools in the United Kingdom
22 February 2007
Denmark: Focus on arguments against religious music prohibition
Salman Ahmad visited Copenhagen in February 2007 to introduce the screening of the documentary film, 'The Rock Star and the Mullahs'
15 February 2007
Three films about music and Islam hit Scandinavia
Pakistani rock star Salman Ahmad and editor Simon Broughton visit Denmark and Sweden in February 2007 to show three documentari films about music and Islam
24 January 2007
Jason Carter
Video interview with musician Jason Carter about his experience of music censorship and music prohibition in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East
22 January 2007
Denmark: Politician requests “total boycott” of hip hop band
Right-wing politician Kenneth Kristensen, chairman of the youth branch of Danish People's Party, called for a “total boycott” of the hip hop band Outlandish
14 January 2007
India: Complete ban on music in West Bengal village
Since May 2006, no music has been played in the West Bengal village Kanupur because of a religious 'fatwa' on music
03 January 2007
3rd Freemuse World Conference on Music and Censorship
200 professional musicians, scholars, and composers from 22 countries met at the 3rd Freemuse World Conference on 25-26 November 2006 in Istanbul, Turkey
18 December 2006
Denmark: Religious reservations labeled as ‘censorship’
On 5 December 2006, two bare shoulders of a female Norwegian singer became ‘breaking news’ in Denmark with the headline: “Muslim censorship in music show”
05 December 2006
Iraq: 75 singers killed
The Iraqi Artist's Association said that nearly 80 percent of the country's singers have fled the country and that at least 75 singers had been killed since the invasion of Iraq in 2003
29 November 2006
USA: Singer’s religious imagery censored
Crucifixion scene in a performance by American superstar Madonna is censored from NBC’s airing of the concert on 22 November 2006
15 November 2006
Eritrea: Gospel singer released in wheelchair
After two and a half year of imprisonment in Mai Serwa army camp, gospel singer Helen Berhane who belonged to a banned evangelical church in Eritrea was released in late October, according to a statement issued by Amnesty International
08 November 2006
Syria: 'Silenced voices'
In Syria, music is a mirror which shows the soul of the listener. A few young musicians perceive a magic language of sound which can touch the heart and make new thoughts spark. And this is exacly where their problems start...
07 November 2006
Mark LeVine: Globalisation and music censorship in the Middle East
Video interview with the American author and historian Mark LeVine - about globalisation and music censorship the Middle East, and the effect of networking among musicians
30 October 2006
Mark LeVine: Heavy Metal and Islam
Video interview with the American author and historian Mark LeVine who is writing on a book about the special role of Heavy Metal in the Middle East and its relationship with Islam
30 October 2006 Focus on artists from the Middle East
Watch the new video interviews on recorded during the 'Images of the Middle East' festival which took place in Denmark in August-September 2006
30 October 2006
Maryam Mursal
Video interview with Somali singer Maryam Mursal about music prohibition among Islamists
26 October 2006
Somalia: Confusion over music prohibition
Do Islamist hardliners want to stop all music and sentence executives of a music committee to death? Or is the story invented with the purpose of making it possible to get asylum and economic aid?
26 October 2006
India: Album recalled and destroyed because it offends Christians
EMI Music has pulled the new album by the American Heavy Metal band Slayer from music stores across India because of protests from the Christian community
12 October 2006
Iraq: Religious decree prohibits all kinds of singing
In September 2006, a group of religious enforcers in Baghdad banned “music-filled parties” and all kinds of singing, reports Washington Post
12 October 2006
UK/USA: David Byrne about self-censorship in 1981
David Byrne and Brian Eno removed a song which features samples of Qur'anic recital from re-releases of their 1981-album 'My Life in the Bush of Ghosts'
12 October 2006
Iran: ’Unveiled: Art and Censorship in Iran’
Excerpt from Chapter 8 in the report ’Unveiled: Art and Censorship in Iran’ published by Article 19 in September 2006. Chapter 8 is about music in Iran:
05 October 2006
Iran: Report about art and censorship in Iran
“Artists self-censor in fear of risking harassment, arrest, flogging, or worse still, imprisonment,” stated a report about art and censorship in Iran published by Article 19
05 October 2006
Germany: Cancelled Mozart opera show possibly reinstated
The Berlin opera house which cancelled a Mozart opera show because of concern it could provoke violence by Muslims considers staging the production after all
02 October 2006
Afghanistan: Fewer music prohibitions on religious grounds
Excerpts from a report on the situation in Afghanistan by U.S. Department of State, entitled “International Religious Freedom Report 2006”, released on 15 September 2006
28 September 2006
Germany: Opera show cancelled over fear of terror
A warning from German security officials made a leading opera house in Berlin call off a production that features the severed head of the Prophet Muhammad
27 September 2006
Pakistan: Call for music centres to be closed
MMA's member of North-West Frontier Province Assembly Zakir Shah has called for a complete closure of music centres during the holy month of Ramzan
26 September 2006
USA: Banned Musician speaks at Clinton Global Initiative
Pakistani rockstar Salman Ahmad has been invited to speak at former US president Bill Clintons Global Initiative panel in New York on 21 September 2006
14 September 2006
Pakistan: Students protest against music classes
Student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami intensifies protest campaign
13 September 2006
Pakistan: Two more music shops bombed
Bombs damaged two music shops in a bazaar in Bannu in north-western Pakistan on 11 September 2006. Explosions damaging music shops are increasingly shaking up the area.
13 September 2006
Russia: Radical Christians want pop concert banned
Controversy and outrage follows American pop singer Madonna to her world-wide ‘Confessions Tour’ where she is “crucified” on a cross on stage. The act has sparked anger from various religious groups.
12 September 2006
Somalia: Islamists ban music in areas of Somalia
According to an Islamic official in Somalia, music is now banned in the country, and anyone violating the music ban could be arrested, fined and flogged. Initially, a Somali radio station has been closed down for broadcasting love songs
12 September 2006
Musicians hit by the “9/11-effect”
Tighter restrictions on air travel means that musical instruments are no longer allowed on the plane as carry-on baggage. This has lead to cancellations of concerts and tours
11 September 2006
Clotaire K
Video interview with BBC World Music Award winner Clotaire K about how he perceives music as a media
31 August 2006
United Arab Emirates: Popular music website blocked - rated as the third most popular website in the world - has been blocked in the United Arab Emirates, causing many grievances amongst Dubai’s internet savvy
17 August 2006
The burning music question in Islam: prohibited or not?
The burning music question: Music... is it or is it not allowed in Islam? Can we get it straight?
09 August 2006
USA/UK: Deeyah speaks out about the unspeakable
Freemuse hands the microphone to Deeyah - a pop singer and an activist with a serious message. She has placed herself in the crossfire of today’s most controversial, religious issues
09 August 2006
Oath to Vanquish
Video interview with the Lebanese Death Metal band Oath to Vanquish, recorded in July 2006 - about their music and music censorship in Lebanon
08 July 2006
Video interview with Xardas, a 24-year-old Lebanese composer and producer of Dark Ambient music who had his new release confiscated by authorities in June 2006
08 July 2006
Malaysia: Blacklisted Heavy Metal band launches debut album
After more than 20 years of performing, the blacklisted Malaysian Heavy Metal band Blackfire has finally released it's debut album, entitled 'Lahir Dari Api' on 6 June 2006
05 July 2006
Lebanon: “Satanic music” regarded a security issue
Composer and producer of Dark Ambient music asked by authorities to sign a paper promising that he will never send or receive any packages that contain “dark” or “weird” music
15 June 2006
Pakistan: Renewed ban on audio cassettes
Local Taliban and religious leaders in North Waziristan on 11 June 2006 issued public notices that they will punish people listening to “un-Islamic” music
15 June 2006
Serbia: Religious attack on Balkan orchestra
Ten Muslim extremists donning long beards, short pants and white hats broke up a concert with Balkanika Orchestra in Novi Pazar, reports Belgrade radio B92.
15 June 2006
Freedom of musical expression in the Middle East - report
“All that is Banned is Desired” summarizes the sessions and discussions held at the Conference on Freedom of Expression in Music, Beirut October 2005.
06 June 2006
Lebanon: Music producer called in for "investigation"
Dark Ambient musician investigated on 2 June 2006 at the headquarter of the General Security department in Beirut, his music categorised as "satanic" and "offensive to people's morals"
01 June 2006
Pakistan: Music banned in Pakistani province
In May 2006 a pro-Taliban militant cleric announced a ban on music and video shops in the Hamuzai area near Miramshah, residents said, according to the Pakistani newspaper, Dawn
18 May 2006
Saudi Arabia: Journalist arrested for “destructive thoughts"
Journalist who reported about ritualistic burning of musical instruments has been arrested by Saudi Arabia's domestic intelligence agency
11 May 2006
Afghanistan: Singing about women critised by imam
Afghan DJ Besho has been criticised by an influential cleric among Afghanistan’s religious élite: "Singing about women and guns is certainly not allowed."
08 May 2006
Denmark: Teenager arrested for 'death rap'
A 17-year-old teenager was arrested for sending death threats in the form of a rap song to the Danish politician Naser Khader, reports the news agency Reuters
08 May 2006
Iran: World premiere of film about music censorship in Iran
Documentary film on governmental censorship of music in Iran had its world premiere in New York in 2006: ‘Sounds of Silence – Underground Music in Tehran’
04 May 2006
Sweden: Religious group attempts to silence music
A group of young, religious men in Sweden act like as if they were an Islamic police force and try to prevent Swedish muslims from listening to music
28 April 2006
Tibet: Last "singing nun" released from prison and exiled
The release of 34-year-old Tibetan nun Phuntsog Nyidron into exile in the United States on 15 March 2006 marks the end of the imprisonment in Tibet for a group of women who became known as the "singing nuns" of Drapchi prison
26 April 2006
Tibet: Teacher of traditional Tibetan dance imprisoned
A Tibetan monk and teacher of the traditional monastic dance Cham has been sentenced to four years in prison after he gave talks about Tibetan culture and history, reports International Campaign for Tibet
24 April 2006
Iran: Gissoo Shakeri - “Voice of women who cannot sing"
Singer Gissoo Shakeri's works are banned in Iran, but her songs can be listened to on the internet. Interview excerpt from Revolution, and lyrics from one of her banned songs
06 April 2006
Czech Republic: Bishop wants to ban secular music from churches
Basing his decision on the Vatican's directive on church music issued in 1987, a Czech bishop intends to ban the Gustav Mahler's music
06 April 2006
Nigeria: Radio station restricted for playing song with political lyrics
Freedom Radio in Kano has been sanctioned, possibly for playing a specific political song
03 April 2006
Iraq: Music stores bombed in Baquba
Insurgents bombed three stores selling music CDs in southern Baquba, 60 km north of Baghdad, on early 2 April 2006
02 April 2006
Iran: Forbidden rap album becomes a hit
A new album made by the group Dalu mocks the Islamic Republic's top clerics. It has taken the country by storm, reports Iran Focus
03 March 2006
UK: Tv channel bans music video because of threats
Deeyah’s music video has been taken off air and banned by a British Asian tv channel as they received threats to their staff for airing it
27 February 2006
Tunisia/Egypt: Najla too sexy for Egyptian tv
The Egyptian music channel Mazzika will not air Tunisian singer and dancer Najla’s new music video because it is considered pornographic
23 February 2006
Denmark / Tunisia: Danish orchestras cancel concerts in Tunisia
Danish musician Chris Poole & Kasper Søeborg Duo and the orchestra Oriental Mood cancelled their tour to Tunisia due to fear that they will be attacked
13 February 2006
Malaysia: American music performance banned from tv
Officials in Malaysia apparently found the dance and costume of American superstar Madonna so provocative that they banned it from been shown on Malaysian television
13 February 2006
Malaysia: Norwegian rock band banned from performing
Norwegian black metal band Mayhem was scheduled to give a performance in Malaysia’s capital, but following objections from members of the country's parliament, the concert has been banned.
10 February 2006
Denmark / Morocco: Danish DJ boycotted in Morocco
Moroccan night club has cancelled engagement of the Danish house-DJ Rune RK for “political reasons”
07 February 2006
Denmark: CD-album recalled due to fear of misinterpretation
Launch of new Danish album has been cancelled because the cover shows Jomi Massage in burka-like outfit in the colours of the Danish flag.
07 February 2006
Pakistan: Explosion destroys music shops
Suspected Islamic militants planted explosive material near a music shop in the center of the bazaar in Tanak district of North-West Frontier Province in Pakistan
26 January 2006
Malaysia: Islamic authority bans black metal
On January 23, 2006, the highest Islamic authority in Malaysia placed a ban on black metal – the rock music variant dominated by distorted guitars and occult imagery
25 January 2006
Eritrea: Two music shops shut down, singer imprisoned
In December 2005, Eritrean police raided two music shops in Asmara. Popular evangelical Christian singer Helen Berhane has been jailed without trial since May 2004
19 January 2006
Mahsa Vahdat
Video interview with female Iranian singer Mahsat Vahdat. Women, religion, and music censorship in modern Iran
17 January 2006
Afghanistan: Strict self-censorship on Afghan music tv
No rap and no sexy content. These are the rules for the producer of a popular music television program in Afghanistan. Interview
10 January 2006
Grenada: Christians want parang songs banned
Callers to various radio talk shows want to have a ban placed on some of the offensive parang songs
31 December 2005
Iran: New ban on Western music in Iran
New decree bans music that does not conform to Islamic doctrines and the spirit of the Islamic Revolution
21 December 2005
Syria: Music censorship film wins award
Film director Mohamad Malas' movie 'Bab El Makam' tells the story of a young woman, who struggles against a society which does not accept her love for singing
28 November 2005
Conference: Freedom of expression and music in the Middle East
Conference on Freedom of Expression in Music in Beirut on the 6-8th of October 2005. The first regional forum of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa.
25 November 2005
Salman Ahmad
Video interview with ex-Junoon member Salman Ahmad about music prohibition among Islamists, and about music censorship in Pakistan
22 November 2005
Rèda Zine
During Morocco trial rock and heavy metal musicians were accused of Satanism, "acts capable of undermining the faith of a Muslim" and "possessing objects which infringe morals". Interview in French
15 November 2005
Malaysia: Black metal music under attack
Malaysian authorities see the music as part of “black metal cult”
28 October 2005
Saudi Arabia: Never write 'music' or 'violin'
Words such as 'music', 'musician', and 'violin' are considered offensive in Saudi Arabia, reports
25 October 2005
Indonesia: Musicians successfully say "No to the warriors of jihad"
Ahmad Dhani and his band Dewa seek to rescue a generation from extremists
14 October 2005
Lebanon: Islamic scholar rejects religious censorship of music
“There is no ban on music in the Qur'an," says renowned Shaykh (Islamic scholar) from The Beirut Studies and Documentation Center
14 October 2005
Afghanistan: Bittersweet success of secret girl band
The Afghan girl group, ‘Burka Band,’ continues to receive media attention and draw new fans, even though they are no longer active.
13 October 2005
Palestine: Angry Islamists break up hip-hop concert with Kalashnikovs
Stone-hurling and stick-swinging teenage Hamas supporters chased the rap group P. R., Palestinian Rappers, off the stage
06 October 2005
Afghanistan: Seven musicians killed by gunmen
The popular singer Qhurban Nazar and six musicians have been killed by gunmen in northern Afghanistan, reports BBC News
26 September 2005
Iran: Ministry rejects instrumental CD
Ministry of culture says Western rock is the product of drug addicts
29 August 2005
Palestine: Death threats to popular musician in West Bank
On the one hand, thousands of Palestinian fans want to hear Amar Hassan sing, and on the other he receives death threats and his concerts are harrassed and closed by armed militants for religious reasons
17 August 2005
Palestine: Taliban-like attempts to censor music in West Bank
As a Hamas-led town council in the West Bank bans outdoor music and dance performances, musicians fear Palestine is liable to be turned into an Islamic-law state
17 August 2005
United Kingdom: Christians want opera banned
“Religious censorship is in danger of strangling the arts”, says Richard Thomas - the composer of "Jerry Springer - The Opera".
16 August 2005
Pakistan: Pro-Taliban strikes against music shops
Music shops ordered to close down - threatened with bombs and violence
08 August 2005
Dr Abdul Samay Hamed: Censorship Conference in Afghanistan
Poet and musician Dr Abdul Samey Hamed was facilitator of the first national conference on musician's rights in Afghanistan in 2005
30 May 2005
The music industry from the perspective of women
This article is about the music industry from the perspective of women. It is based on interviews with Myriam, a rapper from the group ALIF and the singer Ajah Sy, but it could have been the stories of any woman.
27 May 2005
Afghanistan: 24-year-old female presenter of music show killed
On May 18, 2005, ex-TV presenter Shaima Rezayee, 24, was shot in Kabul by unknown men. Her killing is possibly linked to her presenting of the music show ‘Hop’.
19 May 2005
Senegal seminar 2005 video English
Didier Awadi, Myriam and Ajah on self-censorship, taboos, and the importance of constructive criticism. Video excerpts from Kristina Funkeson's interviews with the artists during the seminar on Music and Freedom of expression in West-Africa, held in Senegal 2005.
09 May 2005
Iraq: Students beaten to death for playing music
Students have been beaten to death for playing music as Shia militiamen run amok, reports
24 March 2005
Newspapers divided on BBC screening of Springer opera
Religion, sex and music is once again in the focus of controversy when BBC - despite protests from religious groups – decided to broadcast “Jerry Springer – the Opera”. Seen as blasphemous and obscene by critics, the opera is hailed as satirical by supporters.
11 January 2005
Googoosh: Iran's Daughter
Googoosh was Iran's most famous and beloved pop diva, until she was silenced following the 1979 Islamic revolution. The award winning documentary on Googoosh is now out on DVD
14 December 2004
Breaking the Silence: Afghanistan documentary out on DVD
Breaking the Silence - the award winning documentary from 2002 by Simon Broughton on music after the fall of the Taliban is now available on DVD
06 December 2004
Afghanistan pulls cable channels
Cable TV channels showing raunchy Bollywood movies and foreign music videos have - again - been taken off air in Afghanistan by the government
12 November 2004
Middle East: Hip-Hop on the frontline
The rap form allows a powerful voice for political invective, and is being used on both sides of the Israel-Palestine conflict. But for Arab countries and the Middle East, the influence and performance of hip-hop lights a few fuses
02 November 2004
Iran: Concerts cancelled
Bureaucratic obstacles have turned into a kind of musical oppression in Iran, reports Shadi Vatanparast from the Iranian web-magazine
21 October 2004
Denmark: Religious fundamentalists obstruct concert
A concert on 9 October, in Copenhagen, Denmark, arranged by the Somali network in Denmark was blocked by a group of religious fundamentalists. According to reports, the group told the musicians that “music is the work of the Devil”
21 October 2004
Pakistan: Grenade kills four listening to music at wedding party
Grenade thrown into a wedding ceremony at Peshwar, killing four and injuring 35 people. The guests were listening to music
15 October 2004
Iranian hardliners cancel embassy music concerts
A series of concerts organized by foreign embassies in Iran have been cancelled, apparently due to increased curbs on cultural events by the Islamic republic's hardliners
05 October 2004
Cat Stevens denied access "on national security grounds"
US officials identified that the singer, whose name is now Yusuf Islam, was on one of their "watch lists". After an interview, the singer - who converted to Islam in 1977 - was denied entry into the US
22 September 2004
Iranian rapper talks a fine line
Chart-topping Shahkar Binesh-Pajouh targets unemployment, poverty and westernised Iranian girls in his new album, which the culture ministry took four years to approve. The ministry passed it only after he deleted six songs from his original ten
04 September 2004
Iran: Lashes for loud music
The judiciary in Hamedan has ordered that anyone caught playing thumping tunes in their cars should be subject to jail terms or lashes, according to news agency IRNA. "Playing any type of music loud in the vehicles is regarded as a crime and violators will be dealt by legal measures"
09 August 2004
Clerics condemn Kashmir pop song
Religious leaders in Kashmir have sought a ban on a pop song by two Pakistani singers. A line in the song, Kachi Pencil (Fragile Pencil), says God has written the fate of man with a fragile pencil
03 August 2004
Afghanistan: The sound of music
After the silence of the Taliban years, Afghanistan is beginning to hum again
27 May 2004
Shoot the Singer! Book
"Shoot the Singer! Music Censorship Today". The first worldwide presentation of contemporary cases of music censorship, with cases from i.a. Burma, Mexico, Middle East, France, Algeria, Zimbabwe, USA, South Africa, Turkey. Edited by Freemuse director Marie Korpe, published by Zed Books, May 2004.
25 May 2004
Najwa Karam banned by the Lebanese Censorship Committee
In March 2004, the Lebanese Surete Generale censored a video clip entitled "Why are You Emigrating?" by Najwa Karam, a well known singer.
02 April 2004
Censorship in Kuwait
An Islamist lawmaker has said he was coordinating with other MPs to ban music education at schools in Kuwait because it was "anti-Islamic and a waste of time."
16 February 2004
Fresh Iranian bands ready to rock
A music competition aims at introducing new talent in the Islamic Republic. But when you live and work in Iran, there are certain limitations on forms of self-expression. Subjects such as censorship, quality, and who should be the judge turned many meetings into lengthy discussions
09 February 2004
Iran: Women & music censorship
Background material on women in the performing arts in post-revolutionary Iran
20 January 2004
Mariah upsets Malaysian Muslims
Malaysia's Muslim opposition party has called for Mariah Carey to be barred from performing in the country
16 January 2004
Woman singer angers Afghan judges
Afghanistan's supreme court has complained to the government over the appearance of an Afghan woman singing on state television.
16 January 2004
Afghan TV U-turn on women singers
Afghan state television has gone back on a decision to show female singers, saying the country is not yet ready for such broadcasts.
16 January 2004
Afghanistan: Ban on local women singers lifted
More than two years after the fall of the Talibans, state television has broadcast for the first time footage of an Afghan woman singing
14 January 2004
Pakistan: The censored meet the censor
In the BBC4 programme "The Rock Star and the Mullah", Salman Ahmad, guitarist with Pakistani rock group Junoon, meet the men who banned music
18 December 2003
Music provoke islamists on Pakistan campuses
A film student at Pakistan's biggest university in Karachi, produced a music video for his final-year project. But right-wing Islamic students opposed to holding art shows on campus attacked the student's exhibition and smashed the computer he had planned to use to screen it
27 November 2003
Afghanistan report Post Scriptum, 2003
Post Scriptum by John Baily to the report: "Can you stop the birds singing?" The censorship of music in Afghanistan
24 September 2003
Tony Allen
Exlusive video interview with Tony Allen on music censorship in Nigeria
27 May 2003
Freemuse report on censorship in Nigeria: "Which way Nigeria?"
Music under Threat: A Question of Money, Morality, Self-Censorship and the Sharia.
Read or purchase the Freemuse report on music censorship in Nigeria. French and English version available
30 April 2003
Moroccan musicians and fans free
The fourteen heavy metal musicians and fans were arrested in February in Casablanca and sentenced to jail from 2 months to 1 year
08 April 2003
Musicians claim police harassment
Pakistani musicians living near the country's border with Afghanistan have complained they are being harassed by hardliners attempting to stamp out music and movies
08 April 2003
Moroccan heavy fans jailed
Fans have been jailed in Casablanca for moral and religious crimes. According to the judge, "normal people go to concerts in a suit and tie"
07 March 2003
Singing Kharabat's praises
Several musicians have been beaten up, while many have received insults and threats. But the musicians of Kabul tries to defy the violent and abusive conservatives
24 January 2003
Afghans ban cable TV
''We are Afghans, we are Muslims, we have Islamic laws and values in our country.''
22 January 2003
Malaysia: Music and moral
Radio stations in Malaysia have been told to submit scripts of live programmes before they are broadcast
22 January 2003
Music and Fundamentalism in Nigeria
Article by Freemuse report writer Jean-Christophe Servant on music and Shariah law
01 January 2003
Iran: Mahsa Vahdat - Singing in the absence of others
Mahsa Vahdat speaks with Naghmeh Taqizadeh from TehranAvenue about the challenges of being a female musician and singer in Iran
18 December 2002
Aghan police beat musicians defying ban
Police beat two Afghan musicians and threatened to bomb their office for violating a local ban on music reminiscent of that imposed by the former Taliban regime
16 October 2002
Salif Keita
Salif Keita on music piracy and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Mali
01 September 2002
Afghan music: Concerto for shattered instruments, broken lives and new dreams
Article on charity concert, organized by Freemuse report writer John Baily, and the BBC documentary 'Breaking the Silence - Music in Afghanistan'
10 March 2002
Breaking the Silence: Music in Afghanistan
BBC documentary by Simon Broughton on music after the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan
01 March 2002
Ethnomusicological research in Afghanistan: Past, present, and future
Extensive article by John Baily on musical life in Afghanistan
01 March 2002
Ngawang Choephel: For love of music
The story of Ngawang Choephel - a Tibetan musician, ethnomusicologist and filmmaker, who was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment by the Chinese authorities
20 January 2002
Farhad Darya
Award winning and most popular Afghan musician and composer Farhad Darya interviewed by Martin Groß and Marc Helfers
17 January 2002
U.S. Funding Effort to Preserve Afghan Music
Freemuse report on music censorship in Afghanistan is believed to be one of the main sources behind a U.S. preservation grant, which has launched a project to record the music of Afghan musicians now residing in Pakistani refugee camps
11 January 2002
Taliban Killed the Radio Stars
Extensive article on the future of music in Afghanistan after the Taliban
16 November 2001
The banned played on
Report from Pakistan, where exiled Afghan musicians fear an extremist backlash against their new-found freedom
15 November 2001
The hills are alive
With the rout of the Taliban, Afghanistan is once again resounding to the sound of music. But why does the lifting of the ban have such significance?
15 November 2001
Khoshnawaz brothers keep Herat's music alive
The independent Afghan culture magazine Lemar - Aftaab has interviewed three expatriated maestro musicians
10 November 2001
A culture muted
By banning music, the Taliban have removed an important force for unity. Article include interview with John Baily, who wrote the Freemuse report on music censorship in Afghanistan
13 October 2001
Just chant
Music is high on the list of activities banned by the Taliban. Article on the Freemuse report on censorship of music in Afghanistan
04 May 2001
Afghanistan report launch: welcome speeches
Speeches at the launch of the Freemuse report “Can you stop the birds singing?”, London 2001
01 May 2001
Freemuse report on censorship of music in Afghanistan
"Can you stop the birds singing?" Freemuse report on the censorship of music in Afghanistan. Abstract, full report (PDF) and musical examples
01 May 2001
Nigeria: 'Leash on Their Tongues'
Article on how music has been censored in Nigeria. Including the story of Fela Kuti and Femi Kuti and their struggle against political and religious censorship
01 March 2001
Marcel Khalife - the blasphemy trials
The story of Marcel Khalife - accused of blasphemy in 1999 for ‘insulting religious values by using a verse from the chapter of the Holy Qur’an in a song’
01 January 2001
Hip-hop, black Islamic nationalism and the quest of Afro-American empowerment
Paper from the 1st World Conference on Music and Censorship, Copenhagen 20-22 November, 1998
01 January 2001