Sing it, Deeyah

Oh, really; how pretty. How perfectly lovely.

A Muslim pop singer has been forced to hire bodyguards to protect her during a visit to Britain next month after she received a string of death threats from religious extremists. US-based Deeyah is due in London next month to promote a new single and video, released tomorrow. But the track “What Will It Be?” has already outraged hardline Islamists here as it promotes women’s rights.

Yes, well, you can see why that would outrage people, promoting women’s rights. Women can’t, shouldn’t, mustn’t have any rights, because the whole point, or almost the whole point, of hardline Islamism is to take rights away from women. Take that away and what’s left? Okay, there’s some fun left – executing a teenage girl because she stabbed one of three men who were intent on raping her and her teenage niece, for instance, and hand-amputation, and execution of gays – of course those are all good, but they don’t match the fun of keeping women squashed and oppressed, now do they. Use your head.

Her performances with a clutch of male dancers and revealing outfits have also deeply offended many Muslims. In one scene in her latest video, the singer drops a burqa covering her body to reveal a bikini.

‘Deeply offended’ – well we can’t have that. No no no no no – if there is anything the past few weeks have taught us, it is that ‘deeply offending’ many Muslims – no matter what footling thing ‘many Muslims’ choose to be ‘deeply offended’ by – is Forbidden. Or else dangerous. One of those – we seem to have a little trouble making up our minds which.

That has attracted vitriol from some quarters. The 28-year-old singer claims that in the past she has been spat upon in the street and told that her family would be in danger if she did not tone down her work…”I have been on the verge of a breakdown. Middle-aged men have spat at me in the street and I have had people phone me and tell me they were going to cut me up into pieces. I became this figure of hate simply because of what I do and wear.”

Well, yeah – because you’re a woman, see, and what you do and wear is not up to you to decide, because of your being a woman. See?

Deeyah, who was born in Norway of Iranian and Pakistani parentage, remains keen to return to Britain. “I miss London,” she said, adding that she wanted to inspire British Muslim women. “I receive letters and emails from women saying I am doing a good job. Putting my life at risk no longer bothers me. That so many women – Muslim women included – are abused by people in their own religion and communities does.”

Yeah. It bothers a lot of us. Go, Deeyah; good luck; peace be upon you. Not figurative peace, not in heaven peace; real peace; no harm.

29 Responses to “Sing it, Deeyah”