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Muslim rapper talks of inner conflict

Issue 316
Front Page

WFP Country Director Visits Somaliland

Somaliland Water & Minerals Ministry Confirms Contact With Lundin Oil Company

Frazer Made Off-Limits To The Independent Press During Somaliland visit

The Historic Meeting between the Somaliland Cross-parliamentary members and UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group

Somaliland Foreign Minister briefs the House of Representatives

Djibouti votes amid opposition boycott

Somalia: The World's forgotten catastrophe

'No Country Deserves to Go the Somalia Way'

Africa, China's new frontier

Somaliland Mission: Taiwan-Africa Progressive Partnership

The Demise of the American Middle Class

AU elections expose Kenya's lack of clear foreign policy

Regional Affairs

Blasts in Somalia's Puntland Region Kill 20

Major increase in UNDP resources for Somaliland in 2008

Somalia Violence and Displacement Worsen

Special Report

International News

The Mediterranean Union: Dividing the Middle East and North Africa

Hijack accused remanded for psychiatric assessment

Chavez Says Exxon Suit May Lead to Oil Cutoff to U.S.


The practice—and the theory

Alfred Nobel: Controversial Man, Controversial Awards

My brush with Islamic justice in Mogadishu was swift and fair

Why black history matters to us all

Regeneration: The Iraq War and British-Arab Identity in a Historical Context

Muslim rapper talks of inner conflict

Islamist target Hirsi Ali seeks French protection

Gangsters go global

Food for thought


A Reality Check on the Governor of Awdal

The Hygiene And Sanitation Corner

SNM is a monument reflecting the triumph of the human spirit

The Presidential trip: “The Most successful event”

In response To The Funny Kulmiye

Somaliland is at the critical junction

A tribute to Hassan Sheikh Mumin

Jamal Ali
Jamal Ali

By Sam Underwood

A teenager wrestling the demands of his strict Muslim upbringing and life as an up-and-coming rapper has spoken of his dilemma.

Jamal Ali was shadowed by an MTV film crew for three months to document his day-to-day experiences.

The 16-year-old is a rapper and DJ with Tiger Troops, a Brighton collective who have performed at various gigs around the city and further afield.

It was after one of those gigs that he was approached by a television producer and last Tuesday a glimpse into his life appeared on air as part of MTV's Bedroom Diaries series.

Originally from Somalia, Jamal moved to Brighton with his parents six years ago.

With strict Muslim parents but a huge group of friends in the city's vibrant hip hop scene, Jamal is charting his own course through life by carefully balancing the two influences.

He respects the Muslim faith and prays five times a day but cannot obey the religion's holy book, the Koran, when it forbids Muslims from performing music with instruments.

For Jamal, giving up music is not an option as it is a huge part of his life.

He said: "I'm a Muslim teenager trying to fit in with the culture in the UK.

"There are a lot of things that happen here that are against my religion such as drinking alcohol, going out with girls and, of course doing music.

"But I can't give it up now because I've put so much work into it and it means so much to me.

"I rap about my religion and what it means to me and I don't think it is that bad."

But girls are one aspect of Jamal's modern life that he has had to give up.

He split from a girlfriend recently because his relationship was causing arguments at home with his mum and dad.

He said: "I don't blame my parents. They were born in a Muslim country and they have lived most of their lives in a Muslim country, it's a different story, it's a different life for me here now."

One Muslim doctrine that Jamal does see sense in following is no sex before marriage and he is saving his virginity for his future wife.

He said: "I don't see the point in having sex with someone that you are going to break up with.

"You might as well marry someone you love and have that moment with them."

Jamal said his parents had heard him rap but never seen him perform on stage.

His mum watched the MTV show - which aired on Tuesday last week -but his dad hasn't seen it.

Trying to marry his two lives into one is a struggle for the teenager but he remains focused and knows what he wants out of life.

He said: "I just want people to understand that it's hard me leading two lives and trying to do my best for myself, my family and my religion."

Source: The Argus

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