Young Muslim musicians marry faith, hip-hop, rock ‘n’ roll

In the early 1970s, singers such as the late Larry Norman transformed Christian music from hymns to rock ‘n’ roll by asking one simple question:

Why should the devil have all the good music?

Now a group of young Muslim musicians is doing the same for Islamic songs known as “nasheeds,” by combining hip-hop, country and pop music with the traditional message of their faith.

“Nasheeds are supposed to remind people of God,” said 22-year-old Mo Sabri of Johnson City, Tenn., one of the first Muslim singers with his own channel on Pandora.com. “If it has a good message, a song can be a rock song or have guitars and still be a nasheed.”

Sabri, 22, first began writing hip-hop nasheeds about two years ago. He sells his songs on iTunes and posts videos on YouTube. His first, called “Heaven Is Where Her Heart Is,” is about finding a girl who puts God first in her life.

His most popular song, “I Believe in Jesus,” has already been viewed on YouTube more than 1 million times.

Sabri said he wrote the song as a reminder that Muslims revere Jesus as a prophet and that all faiths should follow Jesus’ command to love their neighbors. It’s an idea that’s easier to spread in a song than in a debate because people will sing along before they have a chance to argue.

 

New book: The Religious Identity of Young Muslim Women in Berlin

50023“The Religious Identity of Young Muslim Women in Berlin: An
Ethnography Study” by Synnøve K.N. Bendixsen

About the book:

The Religious Identity of Young Muslim Women in Berlin offers an
in-depth ethnographic account of Muslim youth’s religious identity
formation and their engagement with Islam in everyday life. Focusing
on Muslim women in the organisation MJD in Germany, it provides a
deeper understanding of processes related to immigration,
transnationalism, the transformation of identifications and the
reconstruction of selfhood. The book deals with the collective content
of religious identity formation and processes of differentiation,
engaging with the changing role of religion in an urban European
setting, restructuring of religious authority and the formation of
gender identity through religion. Synnøve K.N. Bendixsen examines how
the participants seek and debate what it means to be a good Muslim,
and discusses the religious movement as individual engagement in a
collective project.

Review:

“At last, a richly-textured, ethnographic study which takes
religiosity seriously. This fine study of young women’s involvement in
a particular, Islamic movement in Berlin illuminates the reasons for
‘the turn to Islam’ of a new generation in Europe. […] Marked
throughout by methodological and analytical sophistication, it
challenges many easy generalisations about how Muslims born and
educated in Europe appropriate Islam.” Philip Lewis, University of
Bradford.

Table of content:

Acknowledgements
A Note on Language and Sources
Introduction
Situating the Field and Methodological Reflections Making Sense of the
City: The Religious Spaces of Young Muslim Women in Berlin
Negotiating, Resisting and (Re)Constructing Othering Crafting the
Religious Individual in a Faith Community Trajectories of Religious
Acts and Desires: Bargaining with Religious Norms and Ideals Making a
Religious Gender Order The Meanings of and Incentives for a Religious
Identification Conclusion Appendix 1: Situating the Movements Studied
within the Wider Islamic Field in Germany Bibliography Index

More information is available at the following site:

http://www.brill.com/religious-identity-young-muslim-women-berlin

Seminars Fight Stereotypes

24 October 2010

The association for the Development of Feminist Upbringing and Educational Models (EfEU) will be holding two seminars on 24 November in order to fight stereotypes surrounding young Muslims. The first seminar, given by Hikmet Kayahan and entitled “Young/Muslim/Macho, looking for Young Submissive Female Breeding Machine,” hopes to tackles the prejudices that continue to follow young Muslim men. The second seminar, “Young – Muslim – Female: Areas of Conflict and Challenges when working with Muslims Girls” and given by Amani Abuzahra, aims to go behind the scenes and present the spectrum of roles with which young Muslim girls grow up.

Ellison to Young Muslim-Americans: Participate in Democracy

Twenty-five young women and men attended the second annual Young Muslim-American Leaders Summit-DC, to speak with national political leaders about they role they can play in shaping future American policies. The event was organized by the Muslim Public Affairs Council, who’s executive director Salam Al-Marayati said that we need more Muslims in civil society in America; we need more Muslims in government and media; that is the only way to be part of the solution. Among the attendees, was Congressman Keith Ellison – the first Muslim ever elected to US Congress. Ellison urged young Muslim-Americans not to see themselves as outcasts or victims because of the surge in surveillance, airport interrogations, and ethnic profiling. He stated that in order to change policy, quietude and indifference won’t affect policy makers, but an active, honest, and sincere commitment to advocacy would create active change.

Young Muslims reject death threats against PM

Young Muslim Italians have expressed their support for journalist and recent Christian convert Magdi Allam, and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, after death threats were posted against them on an al-Qaeda inspired website. The organization Young Muslims of Italy asserted that no Muslims ought to sympathize with these threats, and that The association, Young Italian Muslims, expresses disdain and rejects the unacceptable violent threats that appeared in an internet forum, run by Muslims.” In a statement issued on Wednesday, the organization expressed solidarity with Berlusconi and Allam, saying that it is important to do so as members of both a civil society and religions community.

Young Muslim leaders in Europe get a close look at US

For Karim Z_ribi, the highlight was shaking the hand of Barack Obama. For Ali Zahi, it was meeting his childhood hero, basketball star Magic Johnson. And Mohamed Hamidi was surprised to find a mosque in Washington that was bigger than the one in his parents’ village in Algeria. Hamidi is a well-known blogger, Zahi is a mayoral aide in this Paris suburb, and Z_ribi runs an employment agency. All are French, Muslim and below 42. All grew up and worked in suburbs that became emblematic of the frustration among second- and third-generation immigrant youths that led to three weeks of riots in France in 2005. And all three joined the small but growing ranks of influential Muslims in Europe invited to the US on 21-day trips as part of its International Visitor Leadership Program. The longstanding program, which seeks to introduce future leaders from around the world to the US, has become part of an American effort to reach out to Europe’s Muslims, especially young people who could fall prey to jihadist talk. The exposure to America softened views of a superpower generally distrusted in their communities. Many young people think that America is waging a war on Muslims, said Zahi, 32, chief of staff for the mayor of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 rioting began after the deaths of two teenagers of African origin. I tell them America is a country that has a black presidential candidate and a self-confident Muslim community, Zahi said.

Help For Young Muslim Women: The HatunundCan Association in Berlin

In August a case of so-called honour killing comes up for retrial in Germany’s highest court. Two years ago in Berlin, the murder of a young Kurdish woman at the hands of her three brothers sparked a nation-wide debate on the limits of multicultural tolerance and the failures of integration policy in Germany. The 23 year-old woman was shot for supposedly bringing dishonour to her family for living a western lifestyle. Only the youngest brother was handed a prison sentence, but the public prosecutor insists the whole family was behind the killing. While cases like this are extremely rare, it was the sixth such incident in five months. Now there’s a new organisation devoted to rescuing women and girls from Turkish or Middle Eastern communities in Germany, who feel the threat of an honour killing or forced marriage.