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Cleric Calls for Ban on “Disgraceful Music”

February 2, 2015
3 min read
Cleric Calls for Ban on “Disgraceful Music”

The supreme leader’s representative in Fars Province, Asadollah Imani, has called for greater restrictions on music in Shiraz.

Imani, who is also Shiraz’s Friday Prayer Imam, said there should be restrictions on music performances and the teaching of music, similar to those imposed in the holy cities of Mashhad and Qom.

“Shiraz is turning into a musical village instead of becoming the city of the Third Shrine,” he told an audience at the Public Cultural Council on January 24.

“It is the task of the Public Cultural Council to give permits for concerts to take place. But why should singers who are not allowed to be broadcast on national radio or television, those who take part in disgraceful concerts outside the country, be invited to give concerts in Shiraz?”

The announcement is the latest in a string of clampdowns on music across Iran. In early January, a group of protesters calling themselves Hezbollah Umah called for concerts by folk band Lian to be canceled in Bushehr and Shiraz.

“We are not against art and music,” Imani’s official website stated. “We have held dozens of meetings with artists and have supported them as much as possible. But propagation of music and performing concerts on a daily basis is another thing altogether.”

He criticized the increasing number of music centers opening in Shiraz, and asked the Public Cultural Council audience: “Is it right to have both genders attending these centers, and playing music together?”

Imani said permits should be granted in line with the values of the Islamic revolution. “Permits should have an approved framework,” he said. If they did not fit the specified criteria, he said, it would be “quite natural” for religious authorities to reject an application for a performance. He recognized that, in some cases, this would cause difficulties between musicians and the relevant authorities.

The cleric also called for greater coordination between religious programming in the city and tourism. “Otherwise,” he said, “We will have problems in Pasargadae and Persepolis.” Both are ancient Persian cities near Shiraz, and are of particular interest to tourists and visiting archeologists and historians. He also warned of potential problems in other ancient historical sites, including Eram Garden in Shiraz and the nearby Arg of Karim Khan.

Imani reminded his audience that this year, Newroz celebrations coincide with the commemoration of the death of Fatimah, the Prophet Muhammad’s daughter (March 24). It was important to take stock of past successes, particularly with these two holidays fast approaching.

“This is an important issue,” he said “The past successful experience in Persepolis, which used to be an anti-revolutionary center, is very valuable and should be repeated. If not, we will have problems.”

“If the Cultural Heritage Organization, together with the general governor’s office, wish to pursue last year’s attempts and bring about an even greater success, so much the better.” He warned that if Newroz Facilities Committee was tasked with the collaborative project, there could well be what he called “religious shortcomings”. The Public Cultural Council and other authorities should be aware of these potential gaps.

Imani also demanded more rigorous supervision over hotels in Shiraz. “It is necessary to assess the shortcomings and failures in order to prevent worsening problems. This is important for maintaining the proper prestige” of Shiraz, he said.


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