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Rahman: Islam has been hijacked by the extremists

April 02, 2010 18:44 IST

He did India proud by bringing home double Oscars and two Grammies and musician A R Rahman, a practising Muslim, has taken it upon himself to promote love and unity through his music as he believes that Islam has been "hijacked" by extremists.

Rahman who changed his name from Dileep Kumar to Allah Rakha Rahman after converting to Islam, said that the religion has a rich musical tradition. "What appealed to me about Islam was that this is a religion based on unconditional love and a belief in one God and one love, and I was especially drawn to Sufism which has a rich musical tradition," the musician who was recently awarded the Padma Bhushan, told The Guardian.

The artiste said that contrary to the perception popularised by fundamentalists Islam does not forbid music. "I never skip prayers. I find it releases me from tension and gives me hope and confidence that Allah is with me, that this is not the only world. Why is the azan (the call to prayer) in tune? Why is it musical? Islam has been hijacked by the extremists and what drives me in my own work is to create a music that will bring people together," said the 44-year-old musician.

The London Philharmonic will perform some of his best-known works, from his Oscar-winning soundtrack of course, but also from the likes of Elizabeth: the Golden Age, the hit musical Bollywood Dreams, and some of his landmark Indian films, such as Lagaan and Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na. Next week's concert is part of his mission, an effort to use music to unite.

Photograph: Krishnendu Halder/ Reuters

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