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India: Two female singers threatened by radicals and clerics

16 March 2017
46 clerics & Islamic organisations issued a fatwa banning singer Nahid Afrin from singing at a show just days after Suhana Syed received online threats.
Photo: Nahid Afrin Twitter

 

As many as 46 clerics and Islamic organisations in the north-eastern state of Assam issued a fatwa banning teen female singer Nahid Afrin from singing at a musical show on 25 March.

The fatwa comes just days after reports revealed that another female singer, Suhana Syed, has been receiving threats from radical Islamists for singing a Hindu devotional song on a singing reality TV show, reported India Today on 8 and 15 March 2017.

Afrin, who became famous by competing in singing reality TV show Indian Idol in 2015, said she was “shocked and broken” when she first learned of the fatwa, but called her singing “a gift from God” and would not let the fatwa stop her from performing at the show in Assam.

Chief Minister of Assam Sarbananda Sonowal said the government would protect the singer, reported NDTV on 15 March 2017.

“We strongly condemn putting restrictions on performance by the young, talented singer, Nahid Afrin, by some organisations,” he said on Twitter. “Spoke to Nahid and reiterated our government’s commitment to provide safety and security to artists.”

The singer’s scheduled performance is set to take place in the town of Hojai. Near the venue pamphlets were found warning people that “events like musical shows are against Sharia law and future generations will be corrupted”.

The pamphlets also listed dance, drama, theatre and magic as other activities and events that are un-Islamic.


Threatened for singing Hindu song and in front of men
Suhana Syed began receiving threats after she chose to sing a Hindu devotional song on singing reality TV show ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa’.

The singer chose the song as a way to bring Hindu and Muslim communities together, but her choice angered Muslim fundamentalists who took to social media to threaten and insult the young singer.

One main group page on Facebook that has been trolling the singer posted the following:

Suhana you have tarnished the Muslim Community by singing in front of men. Do not feel you have achieved a great feat; people who learn to recite Quran in 6 months have achieved more. Your parents have encouraged you to show your beauty to other men, they will not go to heaven because of you. Please give up the pardah that you are wearing as you don’t respect it.

Arun Janya, one of the judges in the show, told Syed that she had “become the symbol of unity” by singing the song she chose, calling music a “medium where people can unite”.

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