Iranian Musician Jailed for Mixing Islamic Music with Jazz

Tehran, 4 Jan. (AKI) – Habib Moftah Bushehri, an internationally renowned musician, has been sentenced to two years in jail in Iran on charges that his music offends Islam.

Bushehri, who lives in Paris where he performs with his group, the Ensemble Bushehri, had recently returned to Iran to visit his family.

The musician, who is well known with his group as a performer of folk music from southern Iran, is accused of offending religion with his melodies, which mix music performed during Islamic Shiite ceremonies with contemporary pieces, mainly jazz – a combination which has made him extremely popular.

The group’s director Saiid Shanbehzadeh told Adnkronos International (AKI) that “for a long time the conservative media accused our group of heresy, apostasy and other crimes and this sentence therefore doesn’t surprise us.”

The Ensemble Bushehri had been awaiting Bushehri’s return from Iran to leave for a new tour to Australia and New Zealand. “We will leave anyway for our tour because stopping now would mean giving in to what those who convicted Habib want,” Shanbehzadeh told AKI.

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