The nation of Mali has Africa’s richest musical tradition and most vibrant musical talent. But Muslim radicals have taken control of that country and are stamping out the music–destroying instruments, forbidding singing, and driving musicians out of the country. The article, linked below, is worth reading in its entirety. But I was struck by this quotation:
“Music is against Islam,” said Oumar Ould Hamaha, the military leader of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, one of the three extremist groups controlling the north. “Instead of singing, why don’t they read the Koran? Why don’t they subject themselves to God and pray? We are not only against the musicians in Mali. We are in a struggle against all the musicians of the world.”
Does anyone know where this attitude comes from? Does the Koran specifically forbid music? (I understand how its iconoclasm restricts visual art, but music is art without images.) What is it in the radical Islamic worldview that sets it against music? And, conversely, what is it in the Christian worldview that has made it so open to music–more than that, so creative and influential musically?