Turkey: Iranian musician’s concerts hampered by Islamist campaign
A renowned Iranian whose experimental music includes Quranic verses has recently seen his concerts canceled one after another in Turkey’s several cities.
Three out of five concerts of Mohsen Namjoo in Turkey have been canceled by the governors, after Islamist groups campaigned against the artist, who said he was mocking with Islam.
After Namjoo’s concerts were canceled in Konya and Bursa, his concert in the city of Van was also called off on Sunday by the city officials, leaving only the concerts to take place in the major cities of Ankara and Istanbul in December as scheduled.
The New-York based 46 year old singer-songwriter, who is also known as “Bob Dylan of Iran”, received a five year prison sentence in Iran in 2009 for making music that "dishonors" content from the Qur'an. Since Namjoo lives abroad, the sentencing was in absence of the accused.
The Islamist groups in Turkey recently targeted the unconventional artist in a campaign that was largely covered by pro government Islamist media,
saying he “ridiculed the Quran by turning Quran verses into material for his songs.”
“It is definitely not correct that a person who reveals his rudeness towards our holy book, who was expelled from his country because of this behavior will be accepted in our paradise land, where 99 percent of the population is Muslimy. (...) We warn those who accept him,” said Mustafa Copursuz, the President of Diva-Sen, an Islamist organization which has previously helped cancel many other cultural events in Turkey.
Namjoo denied the claims in a letter he wrote to the Turkish nation saying he has never ridiculed or humiliated the Quran, “which has always been his inspiration.”
“I did not change any verse of the Quran. This is a serious and baseless accusation. Contrary to the slanders spread, I recommend you to listen to my Mojir 2016 song, which I pray to Allah” he said.