Indian female-fronted Muslim punk band Pragaash break up due to online threats

While most of us in America have been erroneously mind-wanking over what is and what isn’t a sexist Super Bowl commercial, there are stories popping up from other parts of the world that carry real, true weight.

Take this story for example. An Indian all-girl band named Pragaash has received massive threats for performing. Not just from disgruntled Facebook users (of which there are many), but from Indian religious leaders, who view the girls’ band as a major threat to the direction of Islam. How’s that for a bad review?

Grand Mufti Bashiruddin Ahmad said on Sunday “When girls and young women stray from the rightful path… this kind of non-serious activity can become the first step towards our destruction,” because he is basically the Dad from Footloose except on a much grander scale. Anyone with “Grand Mufti” before their name is totally the type of guy not making a big deal out of anything.

Again – these young women weren’t trying to make a political statement by forming a band – it’s just three teenage girls playing rock music. The group isn’t trying to rattle the establishment like, say, Russia’s church-raiding Pussy Riot. They just want to do what they love: play some rock and roll songs. Why Muslim / religious overlords like Grand Mufti Ahmad are afraid of women is anyone’s guess. Maybe… and just maybe here… the kind of culture that doesn’t view women as equals is what’s to blame? It’s 2013, amigo. If you’re still bummed out that women and gay people are sharing the planet with us then maybe this planet isn’t right for you.

Sadly, the band broke up, according to the BBC:

“… we do not want to continue. No one is [sic] Kashmir is supporting us,” the band member told BBC Hindi.

Indian news outlet OneIndia reports:

Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah threw his weight behind the rock band and asked the police to investigate the threats to them. “Shame on those who claim freedom of speech via social media and then use that freedom to threaten girls who have the right to choose to sing. I hope these talented young girls will not let a handful of morons silence them,” he tweeted.
Praagaash is a rock band comprising Farah Deeba (drum­mer), Aneeqa Khalid (bass player) and Noma Nazir (guitarist and vocalist). They last performed in December in Srinagar. After the abuse and threats, they have decided to stop public performances and concentrate on cutting albums.

It should be mentioned that the girls are in the Muslim-majority state of Kashmir where despite vocal opposition, religious extremism still holds sway – seemingly amongst many in the region. It’s positively shocking that religious leaders there are making such a big deal out of this. Religious extremism – in any context – is terrible. Nobody has seen the big invisible guy in the sky, and anyone saying that they know more about it than anybody else is a liar. Religion is control – simple as that. Which is why people making a big deal out of a girl-band playing some songs is making headlines around the globe. Try though religious dogma might, nobody can truly oppress creativity. If the future of your entire religion is hinged on three teenage girls playing some songs they wrote, Grand Mufti, you’ve got a lot bigger problems to worry about.

I wonder what they’d make of Josie & The Pussycats?