Clerics and religious organisations issued a fatwa condemning Nahid Afrin’s music and banning her concert in Northeast India.

Forty six clerics and members of Islamic groups in the state of Assam in Northeast India issued a fetwa against young singer Nahid Afrin’s performance at a music event on March 25. The singer became popular after she took part in the show Indian Idol in 2015. She says she was shocked and upset to hear about the fetwa. The singer called her talent a “gift of God” and said she wouldn’t cancel her concert in Assam. The state’s chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal said the government would ensure security for the singer.

“We strongly condemn putting restrictions on performance by young talented singer Nahid Afrin by some organisations. Freedom of artists are essence of democracy. Spoke to Nahid and reiterated our government commitment to provide safety and security to artists,” he wrote on Twitter.

The concert is scheduled for March 25 in the city of Hojai. Leaflets warning that “events like music concerts violate Sharia laws and corrupt future generations” were found in the area. The same leaflet names dance, theatre and magic shows among “sinful” practices and labels them anti-Islamic activities.

Another singer, Suhana Syed, also reported threats from Islamic radicals in connection with a Hindu song she sang on television. The woman performed the song to bring Hindu and Muslim communities together. But her choice infuriated Islamic fundamentalists, who began to threaten the singer on social media. The message to different cultures to unite was strengthened during Syed’s performance on a TV show. A judge at the music contest underlined the singer became a symbol of unity because of the song she chose and noted that music is a tool that brings people together.

Photo: Nahid Afrin

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