Defeating ISIS with music: The violinist bringing music back to Mosul

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ERBIL, Kurdistan Area – When ISIS militants entered his house in Mosul and noticed his assortment of musical devices, they advised Ameen Mukdad that he had the satan in him and they might get it out. 

The militants confiscated his musical devices, banned underneath their strict legal guidelines. Ameen had to enter hiding, ready for the day he may once more play within the streets, publicly sharing his music. 

On Wednesday, Ameen plans to try this. He’ll return to the left financial institution of Mosul and play his violin, dealing one more blow to ISIS ideology, as he described it.

Even earlier than ISIS arrived, there have been restrictions on artwork and music. “The individuals have confusion between the wonder and the ugliness,” stated Ameen. But, after they heard his music, they had been stunned. 

“The individuals would hear the music and say that’s lovely. Why is it banned?”

Ameen grew up in a household of artists – his mom a painter and his father a sculpture and author. From a younger age he knew that artwork was lovely and he fearlessly recognized himself as a musician, even when individuals would insult him for it. 

His aunt gifted him with a violin when he was 20 years outdated.

Largely self-taught, Ameen estimates he has had solely 18 classes. He had his first lesson a yr and a half after getting the violin, when he impressed judges and got here second place in a music contest regardless of enjoying on only one string. He didn’t know methods to play on all 4 strings. 

In 2014, Ameen was dwelling and dealing in Erbil. He returned to Mosul as a result of he and a buddy had been placing on a live performance. Two days earlier than the deliberate live performance, he was looking for gear when the primary rumours of ISIS started to scare the town.

That live performance by no means occurred. 

Even underneath ISIS, Ameen continued to play his music. His associates feared he could be killed and begged him to cease, or to play quietly, however he refused. “I can’t dwell with that concern.”

At some point, he heard a knock of steel in opposition to glass – ISIS militants had been knocking on his window with a pistol. This was the go to he had anticipated for a very long time.

Strolling into the room the place Ameen saved musical devices, artwork provides, philosophy books, even poems he had written about ISIS, the militants had been shocked.

They took all his devices and stated they’d return with the Hisbah police to punish him and educate him his faith.

“We are going to take the satan away from you as a result of there’s a satan in your physique. You’re cursed.”

Ameen lived in hiding for six months, till the neighbourhood he was dwelling in east Mosul was liberated by the Iraqi forces on January 5.

He joined his household in Baghdad a couple of days later. 

Wednesday is his first time going again to Mosul. He’ll play music he composed whereas dwelling underneath ISIS, in addition to the primary piece he wrote after leaving, titled “I’m free.”

“I feel it is going to be wonderful to carry out in my most dearest method,” he stated. “I like to carry out on the street.”

Ameen has a message he desires to ship to the world together with his music. “My message is to be the hope maker.”

For him, this doesn’t imply being an excellent hero, being undefeatable. It means being a traditional particular person, embracing your fears and joys. “Possibly generally you’ll lose the battle, however an important factor is to face up and don’t quit.”

“I’ve had so many logical causes to surrender in my life, however I didn’t take them. And I’ll by no means try this.”