Palestinian singer Mohammed Assaf is providing his people with a different role model than the holy warrior or suicide bomber. He won the song contest Arab Idol, much to the enthusiasm of his compatriots. The Palestinian struggle is not my struggle, but I acknowledge everyone’s right to advocate his own nation’s interests. It is better to do this with music than with terror.
The Flemish daily De Standaard (24 June 2013) hailed his victory with the title: Idool wordt icoon, i.e. “Idol becomes icon”. This pro-Islamic paper doesn’t seem to realize that it highlights two un-Islamic concepts. An “idol” is a sculpture of a Pagan god, an “icon” is a painting of the Christian saviour. Both are un-Islamic by being associated with other religions as well as by being depictions.
The young singer has already been arrested many times by the Islamic Hamas government. Mohammed was against music, and therefore Moghul emperor Aurangzeb (against whom the former palace artists held a demonstration carrying a coffin of the Muse) and Ayatollah Khomeini did away with it. There is no such thing as "Muslim music", only universal music which many Muslims happen to like, in spite of Islam. Music brings out their common humanity underneath the added layer of Islam.