Female Singer Survives Threats & Violence– Reaches "Afghan Star" Finals
An Afghan woman has never made it this far in the competition.
Her family was forced to move from the Taliban center of Kandahar after she started the popular competition.
And… The clerics are not only angry with Lima but say that…
“Anyone who listens to music is committing adultry!”
Here is Lima Sahar during one of the rounds of Afghan Star:
(1 minute 48 seconds)
Lima has several songs posted at the Afghan Star website.
18-year-old Lima Sahar has placed herself in the middle of Afghanistan’s continous gender and music struggle. She could become the winner of the tv show ‘Afghan Star’ – the war-torn country’s answer to ‘American Idol’ which is drawing millions of viewers despite being condemned as ‘un-Islamic’ by Kabul’s Islamic council of clerics.
She beat out 2,000 other hopefuls who auditioned for the third season of ‘Afghan Star’, wearing a headscarf and glitter in her hair, while she sang Pashtun oldies, though without any dance moves.
Lima Sahar is the first member of the Pashtun ethnic group from southern Afghanistan to reach the finals of the popular ‘Afghan Star’ show. The town she lives in, Kandahar, is considered to be the birthplace of the Taliban, which banned music and tv in Afghanistan until being driven from power in late 2001 – in other words a place where trying out for becoming the winner of ‘Afghan Star’ is seen as an act of defiance, a political statement in song.
The Pashtun traditionally keeps women at home or requires them to wear the all-encompassing burqas. Lima Sahar is not only Pashtun, she is also the first Afghan woman to reach this far in the tv show competition, and as such, the news of her success has reached newspaper, blog and website readers around the world.
…Sayed-ur-Rahman Niazi, the cleric at Kabul’s central mosque which attracts 50,000 worshipers during weekly Friday prayers, was quoted by Chicago Tribune as having said this very strong anti-music statement:
“It’s completely rejected by Islam. Someone who goes to listen to music is guilty of adultery. It’s the same thing. And someone who enjoys it should be kicked out of Islam. He’s no longer a Muslim.”
…In one recent show, after a judge said she was surprised Sahar had succeeded because she was the weakest contestant, Lima Sahar confronted the judge and said she had faced many difficulties in her life, and that she was from Kandahar and “survived dangers to come to Kabul and sing”.
Her family was reported to appear aware of the potential trouble Sahar’s tv appearances could cause them, but did not want to discuss it. Lima Sahar said her family would move to Kabul because of the show, but said all of her six brothers supported her.
“If I worry about security, I cannot be a star,” she said, shrugging.
“She’s the sacrifice of our family,” Sahar’s mother said.
“No pain, no gain,” she told reporters Wednesday in Kabul.
Afghan singer Lima Sahar right, performs during a rehearsal at the Tolo TV office in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, March 12, 2008. In a first for post-Taliban Afghanistan, Sahar, a woman from the conservative Pashtun belt is one of the top three contenders in the country’s version of “American Idol.” Conservative detractors decry the fact an Afghan woman has found success singing on television, while others, younger Afghans, say the show is helping women progress. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)