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Rock & Roll Jihad

A Muslim Rock Star's Revolution

Photograph © Sheryar Ahmed

Salman Ahmad is a Pakistani rock star whose band Junoon has sold over 25 million albums.  A medical doctor by training, Salman currently travels the globe as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, spreading a message of harmony and reconciliation between the West and the Muslim world.  He was a featured performer at the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, alongside musical superstars such as Alicia Keys, Melissa Etheridge and Annie Lennox.  He currently teaches a course on Muslim music and poetry at the City University of New York’s Queens College campus.  Salman spends his free time moving between Pakistan and Rockland County, New York, with his wife Samina and their three sons.

“exciting and inspiring journey…Ahmad’s sincere invitation for readers to look at the world from his point of view, a Sufi Muslim rocker, makes it impossible for readers to put down the book…The journey is oftentimes emotional, and sometimes heartbreaking…a must-read for those people who also believe in Ahmad’s idealism, those who appreciate foreign cultures and those who want to be inspired. Grade: A” —Athalia Nakula, Campus Circle

“In Rock & Roll Jihad, Ahmad takes us inside Junoon and the universal connections that Ahmad is working toward…There are some hairy stories about how the band was confronted with intimidation and violence in Pakistani politics. Through regime changes, Ahmad and his crew are steadfast in their belief in tolerance, humanity, and justice—and determined to rock out in the process. The man is an achiever who falls into one great opportunity after another…Ahmad is…a true believer, not only in God but in himself…This isn’t another book about sex, drugs, and rock & roll—it’s about believing in yourself, the potential for humanity, and rock & roll…Understanding and common ground can be one and the same, and Salman Ahmad makes a case against extremism, religious supremacy, and intolerance….In spite of religious, political, or cultural differences, Rock & Roll Jihad proves how the power of music is still a force to unite people.” –Krist Novoselic, Seattle Weekly

"Pakistan's leading rock star tells his unusual life story, which involves bringing Western-style rock to a country where music was banned, and building a bridge between East and West." —Ode Magazine

"[E]xposes the often hidden nuances of a society and culture that is of prime importance to international events today...fascinating...This is the story of a dreamer who resisted dogma and an artificial and oppressive environment and ended up becoming a pop icon." —IndiaCurrents

"Fiery...pivotal in recpaturing the true essence of the word [jihad]...a must-read not only from the point of view of understanding the fusion between East and West, but for its entertainment value." —

"A personal narrative that is inextricably tied to the collective history of the country of his birth, [lending] the book its essential readibility. The grand sweep of Pakistani captured here by someone who has actually helped shape that history. From the hushed, underground music scene of the Zia era to the heady and hopeful days of democracy, culminating in hormone-marred pop concerts, Ahmad brings Pakistan's fascinatingly critical cultural evolution to life with a deeply personal recounting...a lyrical and poignant read" —Daily Times (PK)