Teen singing sensation, Nahid Afrin, has found herself at the centre of a controversy after reports began making the rounds that 46 clerics had issued a fatwa against the Assamese singer.
However, the secretary of the Assam State Jamiat Ulama, Maulvi Fazlul Karim Qasimi, has clarified to an online news portal that no fatwa had been issued in the matter. The notice in question is a pamphlet that condemns the 25 March programme at the college, where Afrin was scheduled to perform. However, the leaflet does not mention her.
The news of the alleged fatwa drew severe criticism, with several political figures and celebrities stepping up to defend the 16-year-old Indian Idol runner-up. Afrin also won praise for her resolve to continue singing.
Assam Chief Minister Sabananda Sonowal called the “freedom of artists is the essence of a democracy” and assured the teen of security cover.
We strongly condemn putting restrictions on performance by young talented singer Nahid Afrin by some organisations.— Sarbananda Sonowal (@sarbanandsonwal) March 14, 2017
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that Afrin had “every right to sing”.
I fully stand with #NahidAfreen. She has got every right to sing. We are proud of her achievements.— Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) March 15, 2017
Singer Vishal Dadlani said that he had spoken to the teen singing sensation after the incident.
Anyone who tells a musician not to make music, doesn't understand anything about spirituality. Shame on the people threatening #NahidAfrin .— VISHAL DADLANI (@VishalDadlani) March 15, 2017
Meanwhile, author Taslima Nasreen lauded Afrin for her courage.
After getting fatwa from 46 mullahs in Assam,16 yrs old Nahid Afrin said she'll never bow down and will never leave singing. Bravo girl!— taslima nasreen (@taslimanasreen) March 15, 2017
Noted lawyer and human rights activist Vrinda Grover told IANS that the teen must be offered protection. She said:
Steps should be taken against those who issued the fatwas and the girl should be protected. You are not only abridging her freedom of expression but also threatening her right to life and liberty. The message needs to go out that these are completely unconstitutional.
(The Quint had previously reported that a fatwa had been issued against Nahid Afrin. The error is regretted.)