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A Sufi Muslim Musician Suffers for His Faith
Dr. Orville Boyd Jenkins
A review of the book by Salman Ahmad with Robert Schroeder
Rock and Roll Jihad:  A Muslim Rock Star's Revolution (NY:  Free Press, 2010.  229p.)

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This autobiography of a Pakistani Sufi musician tells his story of a personal, spiritual faith with a deep Muslim historical tradition.  This skilled and inspired musician chose to use his music as a medium of witness to his personal relationship with God, but the Pakistani authorities did not like it, even when their persecution led him to take his art and his witness elsewhere.

His Sufi faith has similarities to evangelical Christian faith, focusing on personal relationship with God, and stands on a strong historical tradition and a broad base of Islamic philosophy.  Sufism has ancient roots in Persia and exists throughout the Muslim world. Much of Africa follows some Sufi order of devotion.

Despite this character and pedigree, or maybe because of it, his musical Sufism and call for peace instead of confrontation posed a threat to the totalitarian Sunni mindset of the Pakistani authorities.  Beginning his musical expression in his teen years, he and his closest friends in music faced opposition when the fundamentalist regime of dictator Zia al Haqq came to power.

Driven by his musical passion and his faith commitment, he was well-received in neighboring India and other areas, including Muslim societies.  Salman Ahmad became a world-famous rock music presence and influence.

Ahmad with his world-famous band Junoon fought prejudice and police to play the kind of music he wanted and to proclaim the message of peace and non-violence he believed in.  Moving his center of operation to London, and building a presence in the US, Ahmad was finally able to reach large audiences and achieve world acclaim.

His primary desire, though, was to reach his own people in Pakistan with the Sufi message of love and peace.  Read how this struggle developed and how spiritual focus led to success.

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First reading notes written 26 March 2012
Review posted on Amazon 23 November 2012
This version posted on Thoughts and Resources 7 January 2013
Last edited 31 October 2013

Orville Boyd Jenkins, EdD, PhD
Copyright © 2013 Orville Boyd Jenkins
Permission granted for free download and transmission for personal or educational use.  Please give credit and link back.  Other rights reserved.

Email:  orville@jenkins.nu
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