As part of VTB’s ongoing series on Islam’s war on the arts Here is a piece from Express India.
At VTB we feel its necessary to have this special focus as so many leftist organizations seem to flock to the cause of Islamists who if they at all understood the consequences of a victory for ‘their side’ may have second thoughts. Islam is not a poor tiny persecuted minority but a substantial fraction of the overall population of the earth which controls vast sections of the world and some of its most strategic resources. Islam also has strict precepts against the arts both musical and representative. Sculptors painters and musicians can expect ostracism at best and torture and murder more typically as we see in the Swat valley. This gentleman in the story below, was lucky compared to the numerous dancers and musicians who have been murdered in Swat Afghanistan and elsewhere Islam controls the monopoly on force.
Artists flee Swat valley to escape fanatics’ threats
Posted: Mar 06, 2009 at 1532 hrs IST
Karachi Mohammad Shahid scrapes together a living in a city slum by painting birds, flowers, animals and celebrity portraits onto minibuses – and vows never to return to the horrors of Swat valley.
After pro-Taliban vigilantes beat and threatened him at gunpoint, he swapped the green pastures and sweeping mountains of his birthplace for the concrete jungle of Pakistan’s smoggy metropolis of Karachi on the Gulf.
It was heart-breaking to leave the idyll of his youth, he said, but there was no choice. “I had to come here because there was no other chance for me or my family to survive,” said 45-year-old Shahid.
The memories of the terrifying campaign waged by Islamist hardliners to enforce sharia law are still fresh for Shahid, and no fledgling truce between the government and those who chased him out will persuade him to return.
“I’m a painter, an artist. I can’t do anything else to earn a living. The Taliban won’t allow people like us to do our work, which saw my family suffer.
Shahid said he used to make a good living painting landscapes, birds, Pakistani and Indian film stars, pavement caricatures and portraits, which were popular with tourists who flocked to the once-friendly and tolerant valley.
But then the fanatics came, the tourists left and life changed for those who made a living from the arts.