Music Celebrates Tolerance, Helps Muslims Resist Religious Extremism

October 7, 2005

Source: The Washington Post

On October 7, 2005 The Washington Post reported, "One of the people watching this tragedy [the rise of Muslim extremism in Indonesia] unfold was a brilliant young musician named Ahmad Dhani. Leader of the immensely popular rock band Dewa, Dhani began to use his musical platform to influence millions of fans in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia to resist the tide of religious extremism. In response to Laskar Jihad's atrocities, and to discredit the appeal of fundamentalist ideology, Dhani composed the best-selling album 'Laskar Cinta' ('Warriors of Love'). Released in November 2004, it quickly rose to the top of the charts as millions of young Indonesians embraced its message of love, peace and tolerance... [N]umerous radical Muslim groups have accused Dhani -- who is a devout Sufi, or mystically inclined Muslim -- of being an infidel, an apostate (code words inciting violence) and a Zionist agent... Yet rather than be intimidated, Dhani recently announced to the Indonesian press his plan to launch another 'ideological smart bom'" -- in the form of a song that uses the revelatory tone of the Koran to declare: 'Truth dwells in the hearts of those who love and are free of hatred; the hearts of those who hate... are possessed by Satan.'"