By Mona Charen
Friday, September 7, 2007
He’s handsome, young and a devout Muslim. He is also his country’s leading pop star. But would it surprise you to learn that one of his songs, a tune that topped the charts, is called “Warriors of Love”?
Ahmad Dhani, Indonesia’s counterpart to Justin Timberlake, has called his song a “musical fatwa against religious extremism and violence.” The lyrics are derived from the Koran and Hadith. (Sample: “If hatred has already poisoned you/Against those . . . who worship differently/ Then evil has already gripped your soul/ Then evil’s got you in its damning embrace.”)
Dhani is a soldier in the culture war within Islam. With 190 million people, Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim country — but its religious culture is far more tolerant and humane than that of Saudi Arabia and many other Muslim lands.