In a freewheeling conversation with Aparita Bhandari of CBC Radio, that soared beyond music, Salman Ahmad traced his evolution from being a member of a garage band in the United States to a globetrotting UN Ambassador today.
His book Rock & Roll Jihad illustrates this journey. “The thread of healing is a major force in my music,” he explained.
Junoon had to face severe restrictions in Pakistan from the political as well as religious zealots. Salman narrated his meeting with a mullah in Peshawar where the two argued about the place of music in Islam, with the mullah saying it has no place in religion and Salman arguing that it has.
The argument ended with the mullah giving a stunningly beautiful rendition of a verse from the Muslim holy book.
Deftly strumming the guitar to the tunes of Stairway to Heaven and a sufi song by Bulleh Shah, Salman held the audience spellbound for more than an hour.
He concluded: “Terrorists didn’t just hijack planes on 9/11, they hijacked Islam.”