Music, Kids & Islam: A Response to BBC London News

// July 1st, 2010 // Blog

I just watched the BBC London News report on the issue of a few Muslim children being removed from music lessons by parental request. Before sharing my views, I direct you to a post written by Indigo Jo for background and analysis.

The following is a short message I sent to the 'Your London' email address:

Entertainment, art and creativity have been part of the rich fabric of Islamic culture for over 14 centuries. The use of musical instruments is prohibited in orthodox Islam, but does not preclude Muslim children from engaging in other artistic pursuits. I understand that taking children out of class may introduce a problem wrt supervision, which is why teachers should consult with Muslim parents to come to an adequate solution. The matter is no different to the provision of vegetarian meals at schools to accommodate the religious beliefs of Jews, Hindus, Muslims and other faith groups.

Of course, it wasn't read out, as I expected. However, I was sad to hear the news presenter speed through several very negative messages sent in by non-Muslims, including music teachers, and two from Muslim parents that could be summarised as “most of us don't have a problem with this”. I.e., “Please stop picking on us during prime-time”.

I find it difficult to believe that mine was the only reasonable, positive message they received, though I imagine the negatives flooded in faster.

Music in Islam has been, and continues to be debated within the Muslim community. Why does BBC London think that a report on this issue will be useful to anyone? The way the story was told, and the tone of viewer comments, you'd think denying children a musical education was tantamount to child abuse. It clearly is not, and making a mountain out of a mole hill helps no-one. Least of all the Muslim children that the BBC are supposedly so concerned about, who, thanks to such irresponsible reporting, are growing up in a country that is becoming increasingly more hostile to their culture, identity and values.

3 Responses to “Music, Kids & Islam: A Response to BBC London News”

  1. Siraj says:

    Maybe introduce an Arabic Calligraphy class. Such a wonderful thing it is, even for non-muslims to learn.

  2. Mezba says:

    I am surprised it’s even a news. If the 10 percent do not want their kids being educated in music why should the teacher complain? Not that I agree with that 10 percent, but still.

  3. Marahm says:

    Music is an extension of voice and nature, and as such, constitutes an inherent cog of human existence. Perhaps Islam should revisit the concept of music.

    Definitions are fuzzy, and this is where the trouble begins.

    When I lived in Saudi Arabia, I thought I’d be deprived of an important source of emotional and spiritual inspiration. Then I discovered the sublime recitations of the major Qur’anic reciters of the time.

    My favorite was Ahmed al-Ajami, whose recordings couldn’t possibly have been regarded as anything other than musical.

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