Radio Liberty today reported on demonstrations against Iranian rock star Mohsen Namjoo. Namjoo, who blends traditional Persian music with rock, jazz, and blues, is under fire for including verses from the Koran in his lyrics. Religious leaders call it an “insult:”
“When the Koran is being read, everyone should remain silent and listen,” [Islamic scholar Abbas] Mohajerani says. “If there is music playing, then the listener’s attention is largely caught by the music.”
While the Judiciary has, officially, remained silent, complaints from prominent Koranic scholars are increasing. The Koran Council has already spoken out against him.
Namjoo says that he respects the laws of the Islamic Republic, and denied an interest in living abroad. Interviewed in Europe last year, he stated:
“I live in that country, I ‘m committed to the laws, and I don’t want to be seen as an anarchist or a troublemaker.”
The New York Times referred to Namjoo as “Iran’s Bob Dylan,” and it’s a fitting comparison. He writes poetry on the side and has the look. When pressed by the Times, he rejected this label: “I’d rather have no adjective in front of the word musician,” Namjoo says. “I’m only a musician. That’s all.” Sounds familiar.