Högskolan i Malmø tilbyr til høsten kurs i noe de kaller islamologi, et helt nytt begrep. Skolen sier det er så mye overflatisk kunnskap ute i samfunnet. Det vil man gjerne rette på ved å gå i dybden og vise hva islam virkelig er. Man undres hva som skjuler seg bak ordene.

– Islam är en brännhet fråga i Europa. Och jag tror att det finns ett stort behov och intresse för islamologi även i Sverige och Malmö. Många har dålig koll på religionshistoria och islam, säger Jonas Otterbeck, universitetslektor och fil dr i religionshistoria med islamologisk inriktning vid Internationell migration och etniska relationer, IMER, Malmö högskola.

Genom en ökad invandring av muslimer och människor från Mellanöstern till Europa och Sverige finns ett allt större behov av att förstå islam och muslimer.
– Idag finns en naiv syn på muslimer och islam. Muslimer är givetvis inte likadana utan de skiljer sig åt. De kommer från olika delar av världen, har olika syn på religion och olika traditioner, säger Jonas Otterbeck.

Professor Otterbeck skal lede kurset. Hva står han for? Hva menes når man sier at folks oppfatning er naiv? Et raskt søk viser at Otterbeck har stor sans for Edward Saids «Orientalism». En artikkel på engelsk om «islamofobi» i Sverige gjennom tidene gir klare indikasjoner. Men det er en artikkel om islam og musikk som for alvor viser hvor Otterbeck står. I salafistmiljøene går diskusjonen: tillater islam musikk? Dette tas helt alvorlig, helt ned til spørsmålet om ringetoner på mobilen. Det ble avholdt en konferanse i Beirut som skulle forsøke å finne svar på spørsmålet. Der var Otterbeck en av forleserne.

The Freemuse conference had invited the Swedish reseacher and Islamic scholar Jonas Otterbeck to outline the sources on which the ban on music is based. He works as an assistant professor at Malmö Högskola.

Decisions are based upon the key Islamic sources, the Qur’an, the Hadith (the sayings of the Prophet), the Sunna (the ‘way,’ actions of the Prophet), Sira (the biography of the Prophet) and the Salaf (the stories of the Companions of the Prophet). According to Jonas Otterbeck, no clear conclusion on the subject has been reached. For example, he asks: «Is the ‘Idle talk’ (lahwal hadith) which is mentioned in Sura Luqman, ayat (verse) 6, a reference to singing and listening to songs? The radical religious scholars think that it is, rather than a reference merely to vain and void communication.»
Otterbeck referred to a model constructed by the late expert on Islamic music and art Lamya Al-Faruqi in which she compares religious tonal expressions and Arabic musica. The first includes Qur’anic chant, the call to prayer, pilgrimage chants, eulogy chants, chanted poetry with noble themes, family and celebration music, occupational music, military band music and music related to the pace of the camel, for example.

What is controversial for Islamic scholars is instrumental music, serious metered songs, pre-Islamic and non-Islamic music. Depending on the interpretation of the Hadith this ‘controversial’ music can be labelled halal (allowed), makruh (blameworthy) or else haram (forbidden).
The second split is between what is haram (forbidden) and what is halal (allowed), the latter on a sliding scale which includes makruh (blameworthy). In Islam, for example, divorce is ‘blameworthy’ but it is also halal, so certain form of music can fall within grades of halal. Women singing at religious feasts may be either makruh (blameworthy) but still halal, (allowed) or, in other cases, haram, (forbidden).
The question is where does heavy metal, rock, rap, hip-hop, jazz, rai, cha’abi (folk, popular) and pop fit into this pattern? Is a style problematic in itself or is it the contents of the lyrics? And what about highly commercialised and sexualised video clips?
The ultimate premise for a theologian is based upon the Qur’anic command, ‘Never forbid what God has allowed. Never allow what God has forbidden.’ It is an individual’s duty to adhere to the four grades of hisba (Al amr bi’l-ma’ruf wa’l-nahy ‘an al-munkar, ‘the commanding the good and the forbidding of evil’) to prevent fitna (strife), the breakdown of society. He cites the civil war in Algeria, strife in Palestine and the emergence of the Taliban as examples of Islamist movements which have legitimated their aggressions against opponents by claiming they protect society from fitna.

In Iraq a religious scholar even accepted the showing of a film showing young people being brutalised and killed for listening to music and dancing in a public park as legitimate warning to people committing fitna.
Otterbeck encouraged people to go to various sources for further knowledge on this debate: Islam Online and, for example, the home pages of Yusuf Al-Qaradawi and Muhammad Nasir Ad-Din Al-Albani.
Finally, Otterbeck noted that when we look at public actions taken, it is important not to focus entirely on religion.»The discourse in itself is seldom the only motive for action. Other motives might be economical, political, social, protectionist, moral panics, and so on,» he said.

Når Otterbeck anbefaler Qaradawi som autoritet har han plassert seg selv – i sunni-islamistenes rekker.

Denne professoren skal altså lære unge mennesker hva islam virkelig betyr, med statens velsignelse. Man må spørre: hva er det som foregår?

Sveriges Radio viste en dokumentar om musikk og salafi-islam. Den som sier at ekstremisme bare er noe som finnes i krokene og ikke påvirker, tar feil. Disse strømningene er til stede i våre opplyste velferdssamfunn, de ser faktisk ut til å trives svært godt i dem, mulighetene er mange, og samfunnet har ikke noe å stille opp mot dem.

A group of young, religious men in Sweden act as if they were an Islamic police force and try to prevent Swedish Muslims – basically of Somali origin – from listening to music. This was shown on SVT, the National Swedish TV, on 25 April 2006. Same thing happened in Denmark on October 9 in 2004 where religious fundamentalists obstructed a concert in Nørre Alle Medborgerhus.
According to the Swedish newspaper Sydsvenskan which published a special theme report on «prohibitions in Islam» in the beginning of 2006, there is an increased pressure on Muslim women in Scandinavia to refrain from dancing and playing music, because it is forbidden.
The subject, whether music is allowed or not, is discussed on numerous webpages and debate forums. On the website Sindbad.se which is one of the largest of its kind in Sweden, a school pupil acts on advice that he should «play hookie» from music lessons in school.
But is it true? Is music forbidden according to Islam – or is it not? Can we find the real answer?

Malmös Salafis: «Music is forbidden»

In the Swedish tv documentary, Faik Rustemi, a 23-year-old Muslim based in Sweden’s third largest city Malmö states it very simply: «Music is not allowed in Islam».
The Swedish TV crew filmed a group of young Salafi men – all with long beards, Arabic jallabiya shirts and trousers which do not cover the ankles – blocking the roads around a concert hall in a suburb of Gothenburg, Sweden’s second largest city. ‘Salafis’ are devoted to a very strict interpretation of Islam and have very tight connections to the Wahabi interpretation of Islam that dominates Saudi Arabia.
With threatening remarks, the Salafi believers attempted to prevent people attending a party organised by young people of Somali background. It wasn’t until Swedish police arrived and ordered the men to leave the place, that the young people dared to enter the concert hall.
The SVT team visited the school Al-Salam Skolan in Örebro which receives funds from Saudi Arabia. They interviewed the former head master, Elisabeth Söderling, who said that she thought it was insane that listening to radio was banned – she wasn’t even allowed to listen to a news channel because of its jingles.
The documentary was produced by SVT’s most prestigious documentary team ‘Uppdrag granskning’. Reporter Magnus Wennerholm, researcher Per Brinkemo and editor Kenny Adersjö had been working on the documentary since October 2005. After the programme had been broadcast on Swedish television they were chatting and debating with viewers who showed an unusually high interest, sending in around 1,700 questions and comments.
This was «the most important tv programme of the year», wrote a tv-reviewer at the Swedish daily, Expressen.

Ny kurs i islamologi ska slå hål på myter

The burning music question in Islam

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