Exploring the concepts behind the music of Muslimgauze.
music of Muslimgauze is extremely political yet one can appreciate and enjoy
it without really understanding many of the political statements embedded
in each release. For those who have
some appreciation for the subject matter, the album and track titles
represent an integral part of the overall Muslimgauze experience.
are so many beautiful titles that have no political import at all; they
simply capture a scene, a sun-soaked portrait of life very far from the
West. Take for instance:
are in stark contrast to the much more violent and frightening images in
such titles as:
These are just a few examples and there are of course many more. We would like to present an exploration into some of the more obscure and intriguing subjects of Muslimgauze.
A Brief Glossary of Terms to Consider
Abdullah Khalil Abdullah
- 20-year old Palestinian student shot and killed by Israeli soldiers.
The Album Zuriff Moussa is dedicated to him. A picture and information about
his death can be found at:
Abu Nidal Organization (ANO) - Alternately called Fatah Revolutionary Council, Arab Revolutionary Council, Arab Revolutionary Brigades, Black September, Revolutionary Organization of Socialist Muslims. An international terrorist organization lead by Sabri al-Banna that split from the PLO in 1974.
Ahmad Shah Masood - Afghan defense minister under ousted President Rabbani, now leads anti-Taleban forces. (Subject of the mini disc "In Search of Ahmad Shah Masood")
Al-Zulfiquar Shaheed - Former Prime Minister Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto,
father of Benazir Bhutto, won a landslide victory with
his new Pakistani Peoples Party and was subsequently subject to a coup
d'etat by the military junta. Mercilessly and
despicably assassinated on April 4, 1979.
Arab Quarter - The Arab section of a town or city. Presumably referring to Arab Quarters in various cities in Israel.
Azzazin/Azzazin 2 - A transliteration of Assassin which originates from an Arabic term Hashishin, one who has drunk of the hashish. Under its influence the Assassins of the East, followers of the Shaikh al-Jabal (Old Man of the Mountain), were said to commit the murders required by their chief.
Bandit Queen -
Nickname for Phoolan Devi, an Indian woman who lead a notorious dacoit
gang who was later elected to parliament in 1996. There is an interview
with her from The Atlantic Monthly:
Beit Nuba - one of three Palestinian villages destroyed by Israeli forces after the cease fire of the war of 1967. (Track title from "Citadel")
Betrayal - A referral to Arafat shaking hands with Yitzak Rabin, a representation of capitulation and cooperation between the PLO and the government of Israel.
Bhutto - The surname of the famous
Pakistani political family which includes Former Prime Ministers Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
and daughter former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. For a biography of daughter Benazir Bhutto, click the following link:
Black September, The Return of - Palestinian terrorist group formed in response to Jordan's King Hussein attempt to drive Palestinians out of Jordan in September 1970. Black September was responsible for taking hostage Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic games in Munich. Eleven Israeli athletes were killed. Associated with Abu Nidal.
Blue Mosque - The great Blue Mosque of Istanbul. One of the principal mosques in Turkey. Also called Sultan Ahmet Mosque. The Mosque was built in just 7 years during the first and second decades of the 1600s in Istanbul by master Ottoman architect Sinan. The Mosque stands as one of the great architectural masterpieces in the Middle East.
Djinn, City of - In Arabic and Islamic folklore, spirit or demon with supernatural powers, especially of changing size and shape. Both good and evil, djinn are popular figures in Middle Eastern literature, particularly in the Thousand and One Nights. Genie is the English form.
Coup D'Etat - A sudden, decisive exercise of power whereby the existing government is subverted without the consent of the people, in a more or less violent fashion.
Drugsherpa - The Sherpa are a Tibetan people living on the high southern slopes of the Himalayas.
Druse - A religiously liberal, non-fundamentalist faction of Islam which believes in reincarnation and the teachings of Muhammad but do not condemn drinking alcohol, fornication, resurrection, fasting or the hajj to Holy Mecca. (track from Bandit Queen)
Fakir Sind - A concatenation of two words, Fakir is a common name, Sind a southern province of Pakistan.
Fatah Guerrilla - Fatah is the mainstream faction of the PLO, headed by Palestinian President and PLO chairman Yasser Arafat
Fatwah - Legal opinion concerning Islamic Law.
Fedayeen -suicide squads, literally "those who sacrifice themselves"
Ferdowsi - A Persian poet born in
the 940s in the Khorasan region of Iran, Ferdowsi is best known for his
famous epic poem The Shahnameh (The Epic of Kings). Dedicated to Soltan
Mahmoud, The Shah nameh tells the early Persian
history mixed with some fiction through about 60,000 couplets. (Track
title from Citadel) A translation of the text can be found at:
Green Book - Book by Colonel Mu'uammar al-Qadhafi of Libya, that addresses his ideas
about government, economics and social order. The text of the book is
Gulf Between Us - A double entendre referring to both the differences between the Arab/western (Palestinian/Israeli) worlds and the actual Persian Gulf.
Gun Aramaic/Gun Aramaic Part 2 - Concatenation of two words, Gun and Aramaic. The word gun needs no explanation, Aramaic however, is an ancient language spoken in Syria and Mesopotamia which eventually replaced Hebrew during the time of the biblical Jesus. A modern version of Aramaic is still spoken in small villages. Biblical scholars primarily use the antiquated version of the language.
Hajj - One of the five pillars of Islam, the journey to the Holy city of Mecca
Hamas - An acronym for The Islamic Resistance Movement formed in 1987 dedicated to the restoration of an Islamic Palestinian State. Hamas is almost exclusively portrayed as a terrorist organization in western media however the number of members of Hamas is in the area of tens of thousands and includes a variety of social services, homeless shelters, food distribution centers, schools, hospitals, clinics, low cost housing, financial assistance and religious schooling throughout Palestine's Gaza and West Bank. Hamas members have run candidates for elections and do stage many peaceful political activities. There are indeed hard-core militant Hamas members who are responsible for violent and terrorist acts but they are certainly in the vast minority.
Hebron Massacre - A reference to the 29 Palestinian worshipers who were massacred by an Israeli settler with an automatic weapon while they were praying at the Abraham (Ibrahimi) Mosque on February 25, 1994 in the holy West Bank city of Hebron.
Hussein Jeeb - A concatenation of two words, Hussein is a common name, Jeeb is a Palestinian village
Iz el-Deen - Also known as Al-Qassam, an armed militant faction of Hamas responsible for bombings (including a large number of suicide bombings), assassinations, and kidnappings of those opposed to its existence.
Izlamaphobia - A term to describe the irrational fear of Islam.
Jarnail Singh - Leader of a Sikh community in Punjabi who was taken by the Indian Mansa district police in 1993 and held for approximately two weeks before mysteriously disappearing. Thought to have been murdered by the government of Indira Ghandhi.
Jazirat-Ul-Arab - According to the Arabs, Arabia is an island, an arid subcontinent separated from Africa, Asia and Europe by seas of sand. The word "Jazîrat" means "island", thus the term translates as, "Arab Island".
Jellaba - Jellaba is the ruling social group
who control most of the politics and economics as well as culture, and
ultimately, the corrupt legal system of Sudan. Vanilla Jellaba is a track
from the excellent album, Izlamaphobia. For more
information on Sudan and the Jellaba, visit this site:
- The capital city of Afghanistan. A city in ruins due to the horrors
of an 18 year ongoing war which has devastated that country. For more
information on the situation in Afghanistan, read this statement on the
Conditions in Afghanistan by the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for
South Asian Affairs as presented before the House International Relations
Katyusha - Russian-made rocket frequently used in attacks against Israel
Khan Younis - (from Hamas Arc) Second-largest city of the Gaza Strip and home of the second largest refugee camp
Lahore & Marseille - Lahore is a city in Pakistan, Marseille is a city in France, Presumably this is a geographic range from Europe to Asia where lies the land called "The Middle East".
Maroon - This is a reference to the "marooned" state of being which describes the Palestinian people.
Mazar-I-sharif - A city considered to be a stronghold of Taliban opposition forces in Northern Afghanistan overtaken by the Taliban in August 1998.
Mullah Said - A double entendre which can be translated as a particular Mullah of the surname "Said" or a statement "The Mullah said..." A Mullah is a religious leader trained in the doctrine and law of Islam, often the head of a Mosque.
Salaam Alekum - The Arabic expression "Salaam wa Aleikum" in English means, "Peace be With You." Used both in greetings and departures as "hello" and "goodbye".
Satyajit Eye - A reference to the celebrated
Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray (1921-1992). "Eye" may refer to the 1972
Satyajit film "The Inner Eye". For information on Satyajit Ray, click
Syrinjia - This is most likely a corruption of the word "syringe"
Tonton Macoutes - Tonton Macoutes secret police/death squads in Haiti, paramilitary arm of the Duvalier dictatorship. Wore uniform of white jacket, white peaked cap and very dark sunglasses, invoking imagery of zombies. Duvalier's reign as "President for Life" ended with a coup in 1986. (Track title from Coup d'Etats)
Uzbekistani Bizzare And Souk - A title referring to two very famous markets, the Bizare of Uzbekistan (a predominantly Arab country of the former Soviet Union) and the world famous Souk market of Marakesh which is legendary for being a place where anything can be bought or sold.
Vampire Of Tehran - Iranian serial killer, 28-year-old Gholamreza Khoshrou Kouran Kordieh. Khoshrou was condemned to 10 death sentences this month after confessing on television to the kidnap, rape and murder of nine girls and women aged 10 to 47 in four the course of four months during 1997. His death sentence was carried out when he was publicly hanged from a mobile crane on 13 August 1997.
Veiled Sisters - A reference to the women of Islam. Also, allegedly a reference to AK-47s under wraps (can anyone confirm this?)
Zul'm - Also "Zulüm", a Turkish word meaning "torture". The human rights record in Turkey is appalling and torture is both widespread and systematic.
Zuriff Moussa - Moussa is the name of a Hamas Martyr. Zurif is a Palestinian village.
by J. and Ares Solis.