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Sat Oct 25 05:31:13 SAST 2014

Kashmiri muslim cleric issues fatwa against all-girl band

Sapa-dpa | 04 February, 2013 11:29
A veil-clad woman. File Photo.
Image by: Khaled Abdullah

The top Muslim cleric in India-administered Kashmir on Monday announced a decree banning the region's only all-girl rock band from performing, he said Monday.

Singing and public performances by women were un-Islamic, Bashiruddin Ahmad, the grand mufti of the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley, said Sunday.

He confirmed that a fatwa, or Muslim religious ban, had been issued against girl bands, after a social media controversy over the three-member band Pragaash, or "morning light" in Kashmiri.

"All girl rock bands including Pragaash are banned," Ahmad said. "Singing and music is not in accordance with Islamic teachings, so they should abandon it."

The band received threats and criticism on social networking sites last week. The band members said at the weekend they were to stop live performances for a time.

"Music is not good for the society, the parents of these erring teenage girls should teach them Islamic values instead of exhibiting them as source of entertainment for thousands of people," Ahmad said.

He also criticized Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah for supporting the girls, and reportedly allowing them to take refuge in New Delhi.

"I hope those talented girls will not let a handful of morons silence them," Abdullah was quoted as saying in the Times of India.

Naeem Akhtar, spokesman of the People's Democratic Party, said the fatwa was "a needless controversy." The moderately Islamist party is the leading opposition at state level.

"Issuing fatwas on every issue has become a profession for the mufti, because of which the religion is getting a bad name."

Balbir Punj, spokesman of Hindu opposition group the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said: "There is an effort to Talibanize Kashmir and other parts of India. Radical leaders want to run the society.

"But India is a plural society, I praise the stand taken by chief minister on this issue," Punj said.

A report from ZeeNews.com says the three teenage members decided to call it quits, a day after the fatwa. 

Although the girls have maintained silence over the issue, sources close to them said, they have decided to quit singing and music.

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