Recently, three Muslim teenage girls from India–Aneeqa Khalid, Noma Nazir, and Farah Deeba–started a rock band called Praagaash, which means “from darkness to light.” They were the only female band in the national Battle of the Bands in the Kashmiri capital of Srinagar this past December. The band quickly received a lot of attention, but soon afterwards, their situation took a turn to the worse. The band has faced, and is still facing, political and religious opposition over their music and the fact that they are even performing in public.
After the Battle of the Bands competition, many strangers were posting nasty comments about Praagaash, insulting them, saying what they were doing was un-Islamic because they were performing in public in front of men they didn’t know.
The three girls say that they were scared by the Facebook messages that were being written to them, but they still wanted to continue to play, just after everything calmed down.
When more pressure was put on the band, many political leaders started to get involved in this situation. Omar Abdullah, Jammu and Kashmir’s chief minister, along with many other political leaders, have said they supported the girl rock band. Abdullah also said there will be a police investigation into the threats the girls received.
However, not so long ago, a religious leader declared a fatwa (an Islamic ruling) against the band. Because the girls were so overwhelmed, the band broke up.
These girls just want to play music. It’s their passion and what makes them happy. According to the New York Times, Noma Nazir said, “Whenever I’m angry or sad, it helps me to get out of it. It’s kind of a rescue.”
While the girls feel one way, their families feel conflicted about their daughters participating in a rock band. Farah, the drummer’s mom says that she thinks that performing in public is against Islamic law, but she just wants her daughter to be happy and didn’t want her dreams to be crushed. However, Aneeqa’s mom says that she doesn’t think that her daughter playing music is un-Islamic. As you can see, there are many different opinions on this matter, and not all Muslim people are against this all-girl rock band.
I definitely agree with some of the political leaders who are helping and are standing up for Praagaash. I think it’s very unfair how these girls were basically forced into quitting their band and music. They even said themselves that it’s what makes them happy, that it is their passion, and the one thing they rely on to let everything out.
Why is having a girl rock band un-Islamic? Why can’t they have the same opportunities other girls around the world (including me) have?
To support Praagaash and encourage them to continue playing, visit their Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/praagaashforever