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Muslim rappers Deen Squad anger Durban Islamic community

Deen Squad are an influential Muslim duo from Ottawa, Canada. Together they combine the raw essence of the urban hip-hop genre with core tenets of spirituality and values in the effort to rouse appreciation of the contemporary Muslim identity in today’s youth.

Karter Zaher shot to viral fame in 2015 as one-half of the rap duo Deen Squad, and the Lebanese-Canadian rapper’s success has only increased since.

With the mission of promoting the positive values of Islam through his music, Zaher and his musical partner Jae Deen aim to build pride within the Muslim community while also challenging the misconceptions about the global religion.

Having launched his first music videos just a few years back, Zaher has definitely come a long way. With more than 1 million followers on Facebook, and having opened for Justin Bieber in Dubai, Zaher has built a global fan base.

The rapping Muslim duo made their appearance in Durban at the annual Souk festival as guests of Muslim community foundation, Al-Ansaar this weekend however their performance was frowned upon.

A group of what seems to be orthodox Muslims found the performance by Deen Squad to be ‘shameful’ with commentary below spewing hate at Al-Ansaar for bringing Deen Squad to the Souk Festival.

How could an ‘Islamic’ Organisation so prominent in our Muslim Community, so guiltlessly endeavour to facilitate the Corruption of so many Muslims!? – Facebook user

Last night, like many others present at the Al-Ansaar Souk, I lost my last bit of confidence in Al-Ansaar. I entered the Souk’s Outdoor Entertainment stage to create a video of the horrendous ‘nightclub-like’ scene taking place inside and to approach sisters in order to advise them to exit the stage-area. – Facebook user

Following an outburst by Al-Ansaar audiences, a media statement has been circulating on Facebook:

We, the management of the Alansaar Foundation unreservedly apologise to the Muslim community for hosting the Deen Squad who performed at the Souk on Saturday.

Our expectations and engagement of the deen squad were based purely on international prominence and their reputation within wider audiences over the world. We fully acknowledge that the show was not in keeping with Islamic standards and ran counter to our expectations. We ask you, the community, for maaf (forgivenss) and above all beseech Allah to forgive us. We further extend our sincere apologies to the. stakeholders, sponsors and all participants in the Souk trade fair.

We further confirm that all further shows have been canceled and the Deen Squad have departed.

How do Deen Squad respond to negative publicity?

“We don’t bother explaining ourselves to closed minded individuals. We just know our music is changing the youth’s lives and we’re here to fulfill our purpose regardless of whoever criticizes or tries standing in the way.”

A deleted tweet emerged soon after the Deen Squad duo left the country.

Watch Deen Squad’s performance at Souk Festival

Watch some of their most viewed videos here

About Indianspice Staff Reporter

Report and write stories for Indianspice.co.za. It is our ambitious goal to cover issues/events/news concerning South Africa and the diaspora.

11 comments

  1. I seek refuge from The evil and accursed Satan

    To host a so to say ‘Islamic event’ in the name of Islam and Muslims which in reality doesn’t even have anything to do with islam is in fact very sad and heart rendering . Of coarse we recieved the messages that were doing the rounds about the directors apologizing for the show that was put up last night by the squad or group but the damage is done already ! How can that be undone ?
    It can’t the damage is done and pure Deen (Islam) is pure

  2. Allah s w t judges you by your intention. These are new generation musicians who are using the kind of music in trend to give a message to muslim youth and to others outside the faith. The lyrics are clear with the message. So its an alternate platform motivated by good intention. Unfortunately we have the ultra orthodox who see it differently. I found nothing offensive. Its an arab custom that when women go out to welcome a returning group , they ululate which is make a sound with their tongues and throat to give type of joyous welcoming happy sound. Here the young girls proud of their very own islamic hip hop band showed joy on seeing them and yet they are beautifully dressed . The lights and the rest of it is just effects.

    • Arab custom?

      Islam does not care about Arab customs.

      Islam cares about Islamic customs. Learn the difference.

      And for you to imply that discouraging music stems from orthodoxy, then perhaps you should go and revise your understanding of Islam.

      Anything haraam, is haraam. Whether you are moderate, or orthodox. The definition of haraam does not change. And that which is haraam does not change either.

  3. They can do their music as they like but don’t claim it to be Islamic .. sort of like ISIS killing innocent people and saying it is Islamic. So music is legal and Deen Squad can do their thing but really this is not from Islamic teachings.

  4. Concerned Muslimah

    Deen Squad at Ansaar Souk

    *Deen Squad*
    _karter zaher, a lebanese is a Shia.

    Deen Squad is widely popular with Muslim youth as an alternative to western music. Muslim radio stations even play their songs.

    Yet a cursory look at some of the lyrics shows Shia influence/sympathy and trivialising the Shia-Sunni differences:

    1. Halal Boy
    *”We rock Allah’s chains and my Zulfiqar”*

    2. Spread Out
    *”Abu Bakr or Ali should have been the Caliph*
    *That was 1400 years ago*
    *So why we still debating?”*

    3. Bad and Boujee
    *”Imam Ali sword on me*
    *I’m with the Lord Homie”*

    4. Ooouuu
    *”Shout out to the Shia they protecting me*
    *(YA ALI!)”*

  5. Assalaamu’Alaiykum

    I disagree with Deen Squads comments calling us “Closed Minded”. It does not make us Closed Minded just because we retaliate against the wrongs that the rest of the muslim world are engaging in. There is only one way to practice Islam, and Qur’aan and Hadith state the rights and wrongs.

    I agree, Islam is not one dimensional, and I have found in my travels that no matter where in the world you go, you see a beautiful Islam mingled with an array of colourful cultures. But no matter of the place, the culture, or the colour, what unites us is the fundamentals of Islam which DO NOT CHANGE, and when you go out you realise, that despite our differences, we are actually all the same.

    Islam is not a religion that is meant to morph into something new to accommodate the ‘newer’ thinking of younger generations, but it is a beautiful religion that is perfect as it is for all and for all-time. Islam is to be taught to our youth so that they realise it’s forever-current beauty, not to change the rules, the rights and the wrongs to suit us as we go along.

    South Africa, be not ashamed of who you are as muslims. You have never followed the “norms” of the rest of the world and I would be sorely disappointed if you started now. Stand firm in your faith, no matter who calls you Closed Minded.

    I feel the sincerity of the apology from Al-Ansaar. I am not in the least bit upset that this even happened, because of it all, I have seen a unity among the people, a guidance for our youth, standing up for what is right, and that is such a beautiful thing.

    May Allah forgive us all for our transgressions, and as always, Allah knows best.

    ZI

  6. This whole controversy surrounding Deen Squad and the “pious muslim” that uploaded and circulated the video needs to have his/her head checked. As a muslim did you do the ethical thing by approaching Al Ansaar one on one directly instead of cowardly disgracing ALL muslims on social media? Was that very “islamic” of you the individual that video’d all those girls without their consent? I am not condoning what happened, it was an utter disgrace but the manner in which this entire issue was handled was not very “islamic” as well. Muslim brothers and sisters need to HELP each other not ridicule and insult one another. To all of you that are entertaining this nonsense, i am quite certain that you are no saint yourself, neither is the person that started this nonsense. Remember when u point a finger at someone there r 3 pointing back at you and one thumb!!!

  7. Assalamualaikum, let’s not use an Islamic souk as a platform to promote unislamic activities.The people who have brought these individuals down are responsible.To the Deen squad we maybe close minded however we know where our priorities lie.What is haraam is haraam and you can’t make it right.Don’t come to our country and tell us how to practise our religion as we were doing well up until the time you people arrived.Thanks.Please donot corrupt our youth.

  8. You have more bigger problems. Focus on them.

  9. Trust me Hassan this is a BIG problem. Pity you can’t see it.

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