Saudi-trained Canadian Imam preaches against music

The National Post – February 15, 2011
A Saudi-trained Canadian, Bilal Philips is among a small group of lecturers who preach against most forms of music — a controversial prohibition that surfaced in Manitoba recently, where a dozen Muslim families want to pull their children from music class.
While Mr. Philips argues that Islam does not prohibit all music, he says it only allows adult male singers and “folk songs with acceptable content sung by males or females under the age of puberty accompanied by a hand drum.” In his book, Contemporary Issues, he also says adult women are forbidden from singing “in order to keep the sensual atmosphere of the society at a minimum. Men are much more easily aroused than females as has been thoroughly documented by the clinical studies of Masters and Johnson.”
But the Islamic Institute of Toronto says on its website that many scholars disagree with that interpretation, and consider music permissible as long as it does not contain “sensual, pagan or unethical themes” or subliminal messages. The debate over the permissibility of music in Islam has stirred controversy in Winnipeg, where several families who recently immigrated to Canada have told the Louis Riel School Division they want their children excused from compulsory music class, as well as co-ed physical education.