The Salam Islamic Center, whose leaders have been praised by the FBI, staged a musical concert June 15 at the Crest Theater in Sacramento, California. "An Islamic Expression of Traditional & Contemporary Art," came billed as the first event of its kind and one that "challenges the belief among some orthodox Muslims that music can lead to sinful behavior."
Mohamed Abdul Azeez, imam of the Salam Islamic Center and winner of the FBI's community leadership award, told the Sacramento Bee that staging the event was "risky" but "why not present an alternative? Instead of listening to rap music filled with filth, why not listen to clean rap?" The event, Azeez said, "represents a paradigm shift in the Muslim community. Kids are listening to this stuff, so why not be proactive and expose them to beautiful, inspiring music that promotes love of religion and country?" Imam Mahmoud Abdel of the Masjid Annur Islamic Center has a different view on music.
"Music actually makes you high, 100 percent," he told the Bee. "It's a chain reaction – when people listen to music, they ask for alcohol, which will lead to adultery. One step leads to another in the majority of cases. It's well known that anybody who listens to music a lot will be distracted from his or her mission, which is worshipping God Almighty."