46 Assam mullahs issue fatwa against singer Nahid Afrin

Forty-six Muslim clerics in Assam have issued a fatwa against up-and-coming singer Nahid Afrin, who was the first runner-up in the 2015 season of a musical reality TV show, asking her to stop performing in public.

Police said they were investigating whether the fatwa was a reaction to Nahid recently performing songs against terrorism, including the Islamic State terror group. “We are looking at this angle as well,” ADG (special branch) Pallab Bhattacharya said.

Leaflets bearing the fatwa in Assamese and the names of the clerics were distributed across Hojai and Nagaon districts in central Assam on Tuesday. According to the fatwa, a March 25 programme at Udali Sonai Bibi College in Lanka, Assam, where Nahid, 16, is scheduled to perform is “against the Sharia”.

“If anti-Sharia acts like musical nights are held on grounds surrounded by masjids, idgahs, madrassas and graveyards, our future generations will attract the wrath of Allah,” it said.

The young singer, a Class X student who lives in Biswanath Chariali, broke down on hearing news of the fatwa. “I am speechless. I think my music is God’s gift to me. I will never bow down to it (such warnings) and never leave singing,” she said.

Following the diktat, the singer is at a loss. But the chief minister, Sarbananda Sonowa, advised her to go ahead with the programme. “The chief minister sir called me and asked me not to be worried about the threat. He advised me to go ahead with the programme,” said Afrin.

Her mother added, “The organizers of the musical night told us that the programme on March 25 will not be cancelled.” Police said Nahid and her family would be provided security cover.

Nahid, who made her Bollywood debut singing for Sonakshi Sinha in the 2016 film ‘Akira’, first rose to stardom after her successful innings on reality TV . Her beautiful renditions of songs written and composed by the Vaishnavite saint Srimanta Sankardeva have made her especially popular in Assam.

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