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AND A (MUSLIM) GUITAR PLAYER SHALL LEAD THEM…

Salman Ahmad is a huge rock & roll star. He has sold over 30 million albums of his music, both with his band Junoon and as a solo artist. So, how come you never heard of the guy? Well, he’s Pakistani, for one, and a Muslim, and for another, he plays something called “sufi-rock,” a sort of Led Zeppelin meets poetry few Westerners have ever heard of.

His records sell mainly in Central Asia and in Pakistani immigrant communities scattered throughout the world, but his social activism is giving him a high profile in the West, sort of like a Pakistani Bono (of the Irish band U2 fame). Mr. Ahmad, who is rock star and not a religious figure, has nonetheless become one of the most famous Muslims in the world to repudiate killing in the name of his faith, calling the bloodthirsty Imams a bunch of killers masquerading as men of God.

Which, on the face it would an seem an unremarkable observation of the obvious if not for the fact that Salman Ahmad has so little company. He didn’t exactly have to push his way onto a crowded podium and elbow aside a whole bunch of other internationally famous Muslims who have the balls to call murder by its real name.

Now, Salmon Ahmad is tackling the AIDS plague, swept under the rug by too many Muslim leaders determined to make it appear that Islam has no AIDS problem (no gays in Iran either!), and Muslims do not share humanity’s problems. Ahmad knows this to be a lie, and says so. While lying sacks of shit try to wish it away, the AIDS Plague kills and infects millions, and it’s up to a Pakistani guitar slinger to point that out. Someone had to.

See, that’s the thing about rock & roll musicians, they speak their mind, which is the whole idea of rock & roll. Some even make sense. Bob Marley comes to mind here, John Lennon. Mr. Ahmad’s very public opinion is that this phony jihad being waged by power-mad killers is against everything Islam stands for.

His is an unambiguous attack on both international terrorists and your basic garden variety militias that plague his homeland. This stance no doubt puts his life in danger, proving once again that there is more courage and integrity in one rock & roll musician than a thousand Bishops. Or Imams, Ayatollahs, Rabbis, “Most Holy” Reverends or Popes.

Or political leaders, for that matter. His music has been alternately censored and banned by various Pakistani regimes when he criticized nuclear tests in his homeland and protested the official policy of treating India as an enemy, asking simple questions like “Why escalate the arms race when people still need water?” and “Why treat our neighbors as enemies when we are so close?”

Those 2 questions opened up 2 huge cans of worms in his part of the world. He also denounced the Pakistani government’s negotiations with the Taliban, citing their outrageous destruction of cultural treasures and their banning of music and films.

See, this rocker knows what big-shot politicians won’t admit, that book-burning is only Step 1. Next stop: Honor killings. Surrender a single province to book burners and soon you’re Afghanistan with your women in chains, your culture destroyed and a superpower invading your land to kill the terrorists your nation attracts like flies to dog shit.

Salmon Ahmad does not want that fate for his nation. Patriots always want peace, safety and freedom for their land. He is also is a man who refuses to allow others to tell him what his religious faith means, especially the corrupters that can be found in within the ranks of every religion.

The silence of prominent Islamic religious figures in the face of global terror in the name of Allah is pathetic, but not unprecedented. Where were the Men of God in the pulpits and temples of Germany and Japan in the early 1920s and 30s, while there was still a chance to turn the Axis powers to another path?

Unfortunately for the world, rock & roll hadn’t been invented yet to fill the void of submissive silence, and 60 million people were slaughtered in World War 2. Since that global disaster, artists of every discipline have stood up and spoken out against tyranny. It cost the singer and songwriter Fela his life in Nigeria, and got Bob Marley wounded by a would-be assassin at a peace rally in Jamaica.

This hasn’t stopped other rock&rollers from pointing out obvious truths. Rockers have balls, and don’t care who approves of what they have to say or the way they choose to say it. That musicians have become the target of the book burners is no surprise. Singers are in the truth business, people are buying. Who doesn’t know a bunch of Marley tunes by heart?

Salmon Ahmad is a good man in good historical company, men who do not remain silent about the evil they witness, but he could use a little more living company to join him in repudiating Islamic terror and fighting the stark reality of AIDS, whether their reputations derive from political or religious authority. Maybe he will inspire some Islamic leaders to grow a pair of balls and join him in his call for peace. That is if they can get over being out-thought and upstaged by a guitar slinger. May he continue to point out the obvious.

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