Target: Praagaash, all-girl Muslim rock band from Kashmir
Goal: Continue to play music despite Islamic ruling demanding a cease in performances
Recently in Indian-controlled Kashmir, the only all-female teenage rock group, Praagaash (From Darkness to Light), caused controversy after performing in a Battle of the Bands competition. After the performance a plethora of threatening messages were sent to the band members via Facebook demanding they cease performing. Additionally, a fatwa (Islamic ruling) was issued against the group by a leading Islamic cleric. The band members have since ceased playing and have gone into hiding. One of the band members, in an interview with BBC, said that they didn’t think they were doing anything wrong, but stopped playing music because it is not allowed in Islam and they don’t want to disappoint other Muslims or their community.
While female musicians are not a new thing to Islam or Kashmir, rock music is considered by some conservatives to be forbidden by Islam. But the young members of Praagaash have quit playing music altogether and have gone into hiding due to the fierce threats sent via Facebook. These young women face ridicule and fear not for being a part of a rock group but for being independent and creative women. While Western music may be the crux of the controversy, these teenage girls are being forced from musical creativity altogether. Music can be an important and empowering tool for disadvantaged and/or marginalized young people and Praagaash is no different.
By signing the petition below you will show your support for these young women and urge them to continue to pursue their passion and challenge conservative discourse.
It takes enormous strength and courage to be three teenage Muslim girls and perform Western-inspired rock music for others in your conservative community. I commend you for your courage and I hope that music will continue to be a passion for your group. While the fatwa issued against your group is limiting to you, I urge you to continue to use music as your medium for creative expression. The world needs more strong and creative young women and it would be a loss to both your community and mine across the world for you to stop creating music.
While Western music specifically may be prohibited by Islamic rule, music is a universal language. Every culture around the world has a form of music used by individuals as a freedom to expression. Your group has said the inspiration for your music comes from the Beatles and Greenday, two bands that have had strong anti-establishment messages. I hope you can take solace and inspiration from the messages these bands promote and continue to play music as a group in some form or other. Additionally, my wish is that you will take this letter as a form of support for your music, if you continue to perform or not.
[Your Name Here]