‘Muslim Live 8’ to raise cash for Darfur in Britain
A peace concert in London aims to focus British Muslims on the bloody conflict in Darfur but also symbolises efforts to unite the community amid widespread suspicion of Islam here, organisers say.
“This is really something monumental, it has never been done before,” said Sami Yusuf, a 27-year-old British star who often sings about Islam and is due to top the bill at Wembley Arena in north-west London. Although he has not yet cracked the charts here, Yusuf is highly popular among young Muslims worldwide and has a fan base from Bangladesh to Britain’s second-largest city of Birmingham in west central England.
More needs to be done on Darfur because “this is an issue between Muslims, Muslims killing Muslims, some people think it’s shameful that people haven’t really stood up,” he told.
All profits from the event will go to Islamic Relief to help fund its work in Darfur.
Sami Yusuf’s record label, Awakening, says that they are expecting a capacity crowd of 12,000 for the concert. Like him, the other artists taking part combine music with faith.
Outlandish, a Danish hip-hop outfit featuring Muslims and Christians, are appearing, as is Kareem Salama, a Muslim American country singer, who poses in a Stetson hat on the cover of his latest album. Canadian stars The Sound Of Reason and Hamza Robertson, a young English convert to Islam, are also on the bill.
The event also has official support — the Foreign Office helped to organise a trip for Sami Yusuf and celebrities to visit refugee camps in Darfur earlier this year.
A message from Prime Minister Gordon Brown is due to be played at the venue before the concert starts, as well as one from the leader of the main opposition Conservatives, David Cameron. Sami Yusuf hopes that the event will help alleviate the suffering as well as countering the often negative presentation of Islam in some sections of the British media. afp