HIP-HOP and rap artists are teaching young Muslims the ideology of radical Islamism through songs about the war in Iraq, the oppression of Muslims and the creation of an Islamic state governed by Sharia, or religious law.Intelligence agencies have identified music as a “tool for indoctrination”. The phenomenon began with an American group called Soldiers of Allah. The group has since disbanded but its music and lyrics remain popular on the internet. Other groups in Britain, France and the US have been identified as giving cause for concern. Many use the derogatory term “kufur” to describe non-Muslims.
Madeleine Gruen, an American intelligence analyst, highlighted the lyrics of a British group called Blakstone as a possible gateway to extremist politics.
Ms Gruen has studied how music, internet forums, boardgames and fashion have been used to radicalise youths.
She said: “The music is very persuasive because it is giving young people ideas, and those ideas are what might motivate someone to become a jihadi. The material is all in English. It’s spreading a radical message to domestic populations that don’t speak Arabic or Urdu.”
Ms Gruen said that Blakstone’s lyrics echoed the views of Hizb ut-Tahrir (HuT), the Islamist political movement.
Blakstone operates from an industrial estate in Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey. The group could not be contacted yesterday. In an interview last year, its founder, Ahmed Ashley Welbeck said that the music was “about the underdog” and offered “a middle way” between Muslim tradition and street culture.
Last night, a spokesman for HuT said that it had no formal links with Blakstone or any other rap groups.
He said: “Our message is out there, it is very widespread and it is hardly surprising that groups might pick up on it.
“HuT is a more traditional political movement. We use conferences, websites and leaflets, but rap music is not one of our things.
“There is a lot of anger out there, especially about the Iraq war. Our challenge is to channel that frustration and anger into political activism.”
THE LYRICS SEEN AS A CALL TO ARMS
Yesterday I was dreaming I dreamt of The State we made, a place with purpose and meaning. I saw my people they were smiling not grieving, I saw our kids they were safe they were breathing . . . And no more talk of war and of bombs to drop, under Allah’s Shade and Shield and fearing not. No more bleeding due scheming dogs on thrones, whom plot with foes to spread woes, the stench of rot. And that’s how it’s supposed to be. I look around and all I see today is poverty and misery from systems ruling over me with blasphemy. Their tool, kufur rule it’s a catastrophe
From Close 2 Me, by Blakstone
No Khalifah [Islamic state] Where are we heading? Without Islam we’re stressing, implement Allah’s blessing, that’s what I am addressing. Apart from this kufur scheme. Bring Islam back to the scene. Let’s unite the Ummah [Muslim nation], following only the Koran and the Sunnah. Even if all the kufirs got together, they still couldn’t stop this Ummah. We love Islam More than we love life
From Bring Back Islam, by Soldiers of Allah