Salman Ahmad: Sufi Rock Star

Salman Ahmad is lead guitarist and founding member of Junoon, South Asia’s most popular rock band. Because of that, and … Continued

Salman Ahmad is lead guitarist and founding member of Junoon, South Asia’s most popular rock band.

Because of that, and because of his work for peace and justice, Ahmad is often referred to as the Bono of Asia.

Truth is, Bono is a big fan of Ahmad:

“Just wanted to write you a quick note to say how much we here in the rest of the musical world appreciate what you are doing in your own region for peace,” Bono wrote in a letter posted on Junoon’s web site.

Ahmad, an “On Faith” panelist, will bring his unique experiences and views to the April 19 symposium, “What it Means to be Muslim in America,” co-sponsored by On Faith and Georgetown University.

“If you look at Islamic history, the Prophet Muhammad lived a really tolerant life,” Ahmad explained in an interview with What Is Enlightenment? magazine. “He married a woman who was fifteen years older and a divorcée. He imbibed information from Christianity, from Judaism. He was a very open man.”

Ahmad, a Muslim in the Sufi tradition, was born in Pakistan but grew up in New York. He was a physician before he became a rock star. With Junoon, he has gotten involved in a number of humanitarian efforts, raising funds for Hurricane Katrina victims and earthquake victims in northern Pakistan.

Ahmad has produced two documentary films, The Rock Star and the Mullahs and Muslims in America: It’s My Country Too.

Ahmad is a goodwill ambassador for the UN, acting as the US national spokesperson in the fight against HIV/AIDS. He is also on the board of directors of Breakthrough, an international human rights organization that uses education and popular culture to promote values of dignity, equality, and justice.

In September 2006, Ahmad spoke at the Clinton Global Initiative panel in New York.

By David Waters | 
April 11, 2007; 1:01 PM ET


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