Find Heaven – Challenging extremism with music

Following the death of Osama Bin Laden, the question naturally arises – what next? The US was right to pursue Bin Laden, and others like him who order and commit acts of terrorism, but at it’s heart the  fight against Islamic extremism is a fight for hearts and minds. The fear is that across Pakistan and other parts of the Muslim world (including outposts of that world in the UK) that fight is not being engaged as it needs to be.

What is the way forward? I don’t know, but I do find this cartoon both challenging and moving – it’s creator Daniyal Noorani a Pakistani Muslim living in the US made it in part to encourage his co-religionists to ask questions of those who propose easy (violent) answers to the problems of the Muslim world.

He writes:

In my music video, “Find Heaven,” I depict some of the flaws of Pakistani society, and show how this has led to impoverished Pakistanis being manipulated into taking part in terrorism for the gain of a few. I have been leveraging social media to highlight how Islamist extremists are taking advantage of the socially, economically and politically despondent situation in Pakistan and are luring disenchanted Pakistanis to their cause by offering them the promise and rewards of “Heaven.” While writing “Find Heaven” I considered it more a narrative that highlighted society’s failings as opposed to a statement against Islamist extremists. The whole narrative would still be valid if Islamist extremists were replaced by politicians who offered the impoverished a form of Heaven via power, fame and money. But I chose to highlight the modus operandi Islamist extremists use to further their ideology, as I believe they pose the most immediate threat to Pakistan.

As we in the West who are Christians pray for Pakistan and an end to violence of ‘Jihad’, let us pray for a flowering of a movement of musicians / artists / poets / writers and cartoonists who will challenge the easy answers of the extremists, and challenge us too to be faithful in our following of the One who is known as the Prince of Peace.

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