On Monday morning, Sonu Nigam was apparently woken up by the sound of azaan coming from a local mosque. Not happy with his sleep being disturbed, the singer went on a rant on Twitter, likening the forced listening of the Islamic call to prayer to "gundagardi".
Nigam's main concern was this: "I'm not a Muslim and I have to be woken up by the azaan in the morning."
"When will this forced religiousness end in India," the singer tweeted.
God bless everyone. I'm not a Muslim and I have to be woken up by the Azaan in the morning. When will this forced religiousness end in India— Sonu Nigam (@sonunigam) April 16, 2017
Nigam didn't stop there.
And by the way Mohammed did not have electricity when he made Islam.. Why do I have to have this cacophony after Edison?— Sonu Nigam (@sonunigam) April 17, 2017
He went on to say: "I don't believe in any temple or gurudwara using electricity To wake up people who don't follow the religion. Why then..? Honest? True?"
I don't believe in any temple or gurudwara using electricity To wake up people who don't follow the religion . Why then..? Honest? True?— Sonu Nigam (@sonunigam) April 17, 2017
He concluded his rant by tweeting this.
Gundagardi hai bus...— Sonu Nigam (@sonunigam) April 17, 2017
The singer's comments were met with severe criticism on social media and he attempted damage control by taking to Twitter and stressing that his rant was solely against loudspeakers and not aimed at any specific religion.
It was about Loudspeaker, and only loudspeaker. Too bad that they r on Mosques, Temples & Gurudwaras, thus the reference. Let's be human 1st https://t.co/JDwUHvqDnW— Sonu Nigam (@sonunigam) April 18, 2017
Nigam even offered an apology to those who had assumed that his tweets were "anti-Muslim" and urged people to "loosen up".
And dear Everyone, for those who are tainting my Tweets anti Muslim, tell me 1 place where I have said anything related, & I'll apologize.— Sonu Nigam (@sonunigam) April 18, 2017
When I am talking about Loudspeakers, I did mention Temples and Gurudwaras too. Is it that hard to comprehend? Loosen up guys.— Sonu Nigam (@sonunigam) April 18, 2017
However, it doesn't look like that the storm kicked up Nigam's tweets will settle anytime soon. Now, Syed Sha Atef Ali Al Quaderi, vice-president of the West Bengal Minority United Council, has issued a fatwa against the singer. Clearly upset by the azaan comments, Quaderi has offered a reward of ₹10 lakh to anyone who will shave Nigam's head, put a garland of old torn shoes around his neck and parade him around the country.
According to a report in DNA, Quaderi addressed a press-conference where, among other things, he said, "More than the namaz, people are disturbed by the cacophony from his music studio and during his concerts. In every religion people are asked to wake up early in the morning. Just like Muslims wake up early to say namaz, Hindus too wake up early in the morning to do Surya Namaskar. God gives these people prosperity."
"It seems Nigam had lost his popularity and Arijit Singh from Bengal is getting all the singing contracts. Our appeal to Nigam is to get up early with the sound of azaan," Quaderi added.
The religious head was also quoted in a report by Mumbai Mirror offering the ₹10 lakh reward:
"As a responsible citizen, I am announcing Rs 10 lakh for anyone who can put a garland of old shoes and make Sonu Nigam go around the country like that. Because he not only spoke against Indian Constitution but against Islam as well. He is an enemy of all religion. His long hair should be cut and then his head tonsured for making such a comment."
"If he cannot tolerate azaan, he will not be able to tolerate temple bells or prayers in Church as well," Mumbai Mirror quoted Quaderi as saying.
Nigam who has been quite active since his Azaan comments on Twitter had the perfect response to Maulvi.
"Today at 2pm Aalim will come to my place, and shave my head. Keep your 10 lakhs ready Maulavi."
Today at 2pm Aalim will come to my place, and shave my head. Keep your 10 lakhs ready Maulavi. https://t.co/5jyCmkt3pm— Sonu Nigam (@sonunigam) April 19, 2017
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