Monday, February 22, 2010
"Salman Ahmad Talks “Rock and Roll Jihad” in New York City"
by Adnan Sabih
2/17/10 - 12:34 PM in Elan: The Guide to Global Muslim Culture
Salman Ahmad, the legendary “King of Pakistani Rock” and founder of the popular band, Junoon, rocked the sold-out standing room only crowd at the posh Aicon Gallery in New York City on February 3rd. Salman was promoting his new book “Rock & Roll Jihad: A Muslim Rock Star’s Revolution,” a journey of how Ahmad uses his junoon (passion) for music to strive and struggle (jihad) to bring about unity between the U.S. and the Muslim world, raise humanitarian awareness, and bring about positive social change in Pakistan.
Junoon is one of the most popular bands from South Asia, with over 30 million records sold. Salman entered the stage area with his guitar in hand to a roaring applause at the packed house. The audience was captivated as the night progressed, with Salman walking the audience through his journey in writing his autobiography, while entrancing the crowd with his Sufi Rock. He performed hits such as “Sayonee”, “Al Vida”, “Saeen”, “Khudi”, and “Jazaba Junoon”.
One of the many interesting questions asked in the Q&A segment was why did he use the word “Jihad” in the title of the book, Salman answered by saying, “Terrorists have stolen the word ‘Jihad’ from Islam. The word ‘Jihad’ was hijacked on 9/11 and it was a sinister case of identity theft.” He is now stealing that word back from them and getting its positive connotation back - the strive and struggle for self improvement. Salman also elaborated on his role as a UN Goodwill Ambassador for HIV/AIDS. He segued into a song called “Al Vida”, which appears on his 2006 solo album Infiniti, which is about a woman named Shukriya Gul, whose story inspired him.
The night, hosted by the Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs (OPEN) in New York, closed with a book signing, where guest lined up to buy and get their copies of “Rock & Roll Jihad” signed by Salman.