Bright afternoon sun in Cairo. The newly arrived winds from the desert have calmed, but the hamseen seems on its way. Crossing campus. I am stopped by words on posters for a hip young singer in a chic dark suit. He looks like any stylish young singing star. The posters for an upcoming concert quote from his songs. One says:
“Every day I see the same headline
Crimes committed in the name of the divine
People committing atrocities in his name
They murder and kidnap with no shame
But did he ever teach hatred, violence or bloodshed?
He taught us about human brotherhood
And against prejudice he firmly stood
He loved children, their hands he’d hold
And taught his followers to respect the old
So, would he allow the murder of an innocent
Sami Yusuf is his name. The words are from one of his cd’s, My Ummah. He is British of Iranian-Azeri origin. For more information about him read the article by Christian Pond, “The Appeal of Sami Yusuf and the Search for Islamic Authenticity,” which appears on the website of Arab Media @ Society, the online journal located at the Adham Center for Electronic Journalism at American University in Cairo. That happens to be where I’m at. The journal was recently launched under a new name, and was formerly known as TBSJournal.