IRAN has banned private schools from teaching music, saying it clashes with the country’s Islamic values.
Said Ali Bagherzadeh, head of the private schools office in the Education Ministry:
The use of musical instruments is against the principles of our value system.
Teaching music in state schools has always been prohibited, Bagherzadeh added. A school that teaches music may be permanently closed and its director barred from opening another school, he emphasised. The ban applies to the use of all instruments, including those played in traditional Iranian music.
Meanwhile, Iran has set aside $1.5 billion to promote “moral conduct,” including enforcement of its dress code for women, “to solve the cultural and social ills” in society, Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar said last month.
His comments followed the introduction of a code of conduct at Shiraz University of Medical Sciences that bans loud laughter, nail polish, high heels and immodest clothing for women and men.
The police will “deal firmly” with violators of Iran’s laws on moral conduct, Mohammad-Najjar, a former defence mininster said. His statement follows the words of a mad cleric who said in April that women who dress immodestly cause earthquakes.
A committee is to be formed to offer a single dress code for university students in Iran, said a higher education official in April.
Said Jalil Dara, a director for cultural affairs at the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology:
It’s best if there is a single policy, a benchmark and criteria about university dress codes, so that individual universities do not enforce different standards.
Shiraz University adopted a strict code in February under which women must wear loose, and long coats in subdued colors that go below the knee. Men aren’t permitted to wear jewellery, except for a wedding ring, nor short-sleeve shirts, and their trousers should be loose. Shoes shouldn’t have pointy toes, make noise or have heels higher than 3 centimeters (1.2 inches). Sandals, makeup and smoking are banned.
But back to the music. Why do Muslim fundies hate it so much?
In a lengthy, and utterly tedious discourse on the subject, Turkish “expert” Mustafa Sabri wrote:
With music, a lonely person feels his loneliness more, an orphan feels more the loss of his parents, a patient feels more sorrowful of his situation, and an aged person feels sorrier that the most of his life has already gone. Yet again, with music, a lucky person with wealth and a high ranking position feels happy more than he usually is. In short, music paints the reality in darker colours by increasing the sorrow of the sorrowful and the happiness of the happy. And this way, the effect of music resembles that of alcohol, causing people to perceive the reality in a more stretched way than it really is. Above all of these, music has a tremendous effect in agitating the feelings of romance and love.
In a far more illuminating examination of the subject, Daniel Pipes, in a 1998 article entitled “You need Beethoven to Modernise“, said:
American popular music epitomizes the values that Muslims find most reprehensible about Western culture — the celebration of individualism, youth, hedonism, and unregulated sexuality.
He pointed out that the Pakistani fundamentalist group Hizbullah had singled out Michael Jackson and Madonna as cultural “terrorists” who aspire to destroy Islamic civilization. The group’s spokesman explains this fear:
Michael Jackson and Madonna are the torchbearers of American society, their cultural and social values â€¦ that are destroying humanity. They are ruining the lives of thousands of Muslims and leading them to destruction, away from their religion, ethics and morality. Terrorists are not just those who set off bombs. They are also those who hurt others’ feelings.
Hizbullah finished with a call for the two Americans to be brought to trial in Pakistan.
In 2007 Pipes revisited the subject in “Music and Muslims“.
Hat tip: Alan