SYRIA: Merger of music, Islam and romance

Hossam_haj_1 Relying on modern visual and sound effects, Syrian singer Hossam Haj’s few works display a happy marriage between romantic song clips and Islam. After taking many viewers by surprise with his song, “O, Bravo, You Got Veiled!” a few years ago, Haj is about to launch his new song clip, “Let Us Pray Together, Sweetheart.”

“I am against pornography and indecency,” he said. “When you respect your faith, everyone will respect you. There is nothing wrong in expressing your faith or talking about love.”

In his first clip, Haj played the role of a groom who celebrated his bride’s decision to wear the veil. In his new stint, he depicts a ritual that has recently become widely practiced by young Muslims before marriage. When a couple feel like getting married, they perform a specific prayer to make sure their union will mark the right match.

“Nobody sings the way I do. My songs are about love but they also show that God is there to help lovers,” said Haj, who finances his song clips from his own pocket.

The business of song clips seems to be very prosperous in this part of the world. Over the last five years, the region has witnessed the launch of several private satellite music channels. Yet many of these channels have stirred a storm of outrage for pornographic content that clashes with the prevalent values across the region.

“There are refined clips that one can watch and enjoy; however, there are other useless clips with indecent objectives; they only aim at arousing desires,” Haj said.

Haj’s song celebrating the veil stirred mixed reactions when it first came out almost a year ago. While some praised the message, others viewed it as part of ongoing conservative

Art Music Religion Syria
08/09/2008 06:22

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