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Freedom of Expression of Musicians in Iran

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There is a wide range of restrictions and bans stipulated by the laws in the Middle East, particularly in Iran.  The laws of the country is based on the sacred book which is the Quran. According to the Iranian Constitution, the mass media should display information that would contribute to spread of Islamic culture. The twenty fourth article of the Constitution claims that the press is free to publish materials except those that blight the basis of Islam.

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Iranian priest condemn the production of music. The main focus of the ban is western music since the Muslims believe that it comes from the devil. This way of ideology resembles circumstances of the totalitarian regime. The government thrusts its opinion on the nation restricting the freedom of expression in different social spheres considering various issues, for example, music.

The authority of church and religion in Iran is of great importance. Musicians experience indignity and numerous attacks. They have to escape from state ideology. Censors are usually under pressure from religious and political leaders. They cannot go beyond the acceptable line of censorship norms that exist. However, there are lots of people who are against the authority of religion. They prove that there is no inhibition on music according to the Quran, and people who decide which music is good (halal) and which is unacceptable (haram) have little knowledge about Islam.

The musicians from Eastern World suffer from political ideologies of their countries that refuse to understand and accept their points of view. For instance, Salman Ahmad, who is a rock singer, was charged with treason because of his music style. Joelle Khoury is a jazz pianist who is treated in a bad way in her society only because she is a woman who works. Another woman is Mahsa Vahdat. Iranian singer faces significant obstacles being a professional musician.

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In Iran, people who listen to or play heavy metal music can be accused of being satanists, collaboration with the devil, and even being financially supported by foreign countries. They can receive a prison sentence up to one year for undermining the religion of Muslims. Policemen investigate the problem. They ask people whether they adore the devil or why they like this style of music, and who taught them to play rock music.

Some musicians revolt against these problems publically. They create rebellious music and suffer torture as consequences. Moreover, they still believe that they have rights to express their ideas freely. In fact, they do not have such rights in this country.

A young woman from Iran wrote an article based on a book which stated that Muhammad luxuriated in listening to voices of women. In few days, there were demonstrations organized against the author of article in main Shi’a centre of Iran. The woman was arrested. The government explained that Iranian interpretation was in contrast to the way the Sufism practiced Islam. The Sufism believes in attaining God through music, singing, dancing, and the usage of different musical instruments. However, musicians of Iran do not surrender. They believe that international organization Freemuse will support them. They often make arrangements with representatives of various groups discussing the most problematic issues.

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Thus, a vast majority of musicians cannot accept the idea of music being subordinated religion and government. Music expresses the individuality of each person; it is inside the soul. No one is able to control one’s thoughts. If a system of censorship in Iran curbs religious distinction, it will prompt degradation of cultural development.

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