Pop Goes Islam

With Mubarak gone, Ahmed Abu Haiba no longer has to worry about the infamous SSIS (Egypt’s Secret Police), but his 2-year-old Islamic music channel’s future is anything but certain. Haiba’s Cairo-based 4Shbab TV aims to instill Islamic values in Arab Muslim youth around the world, but some conservative Muslims think that its programming is polluting young minds with “inappropriate” presentations of makeup-wearing women in music videos. A few key Gulf-based financiers have responded to these criticisms by divesting from the channel. A popular Arab sheik even accuses Haiba of promoting “American Islam.”

In a recent Al Jazeera documentary, Pop Goes Islam (embedded below), Haiba explains his reasoning behind the channel’s creation–offering Islamic values in the language of 21st-century youth–and notes that the only women who have appeared on his channel have worn headscarves and occasionally even niqabs. No female musicians or vocalists have ever been broadcast.

Continue reading

Islamic Music Videos and Rap on Egyptian TV

Special thank you to Riyaad M and Hussein Rashid for sending us rap groups to look into.

KNaan by Megan Cole (via Creative Commons)

Rapper K'Naan by Megan Cole (via Creative Commons)

Despite the debate over whether any type of music is permissible in Islam, different types of Islamic rap have popped up around the world. As I mentioned in a post last January, American rapper Lupe Fiasco, for instance, is Muslim but does not typically speak to Islamic issues or messages. Another example is rapper K’Naan. In fact, Muslim rap is not exactly new. The controversial Fun^Da^Mental has been on the scene since 1994.

Continue reading