Shalom Life | August 07, 2015

Islamic Rock Star Banned from Iran after Playing Israel Show

Traveling to Israel is a crime in Iran, with a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison

By: B. Shane Morganstein

Published: August 5th, 2015 in Culture » Music » News

Islamic Rock Star Banned from Iran after Playing Israel Show

Photo: Sami Yusuf


"Islam's biggest rock star" has been banned on Iranian State TV thanks to a show he performed in Israel this past year, though he did not play to an audience of Jewish Israelis.

Sami Yusuf, who left Iran with his family to move to Britain when he was three, performed for Israeli Arabs and Palestinians at a show in Nazareth during the Muslim holiday of Ramadan.

An Iranian news website, Entekhtab, is reporting that, "Sami Yusuf's recent trip to the occupied territories (Christian and Jewish holy sites including the site of the baptism of Jesus Christ) is the reason why his works are banned from the state television."

The singer responded the his banning by taking to social media and releasing a brief statement. "I was very surprised to hear that the official state Tv and Radio for the Islamic Republic of Iran has banned my music and likeness due to my recent performance in Nazareth."

Yusuf continued, saying, "I was not aware that bringing smiles to the faces of my beloved Palestinian brothers and sisters could cause such offense to the government of Iran. I am sorry that my precious listeners in Iran will be denied my music for sometime, but I will not apologize for performing in Palestine."

Yusuf has been called by Time magazine Islam's biggest rock star, is one of Britain's most famous Muslims, and has played shows all over the world. According to reports, traveling to Israel is a crime in Iran, punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

"Music is permeable and was never meant to be combined to borders nor used for political ends, rather, it was meant to echo freely throughout space and time. May we one day see a Free Palestine," he continued.

We agree, Mr. Yusuf. May the Palestinian people be free of Hamas and terrorist dictatorships, and one day work together with the Israelis to find peace and camaraderie.

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