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Livin’ on a Muslim Prayer

Posted in: General,Islam by David Nantais on October 4, 2013

Bon Jovi came to Detroit this past summer (sans Richie Sambora) to play a stadium show at Ford Field downtown–The J. Geils Band opened.  I’ve never been a huge Bon Jovi fan, but my friend won free tickets and I was itching to see some live music so I accepted his invitation.  The show was, in many ways, spectacular.  The stage set up was unlike any I’d ever seen–the band played in front of a gigantic 1959 Buick Elektra.

Nothing gets a Detroit crowd revved up more than a four story American-made automobile!

Besides the incredible stage, one other thing surprised me at this show.  I noticed a young Muslim woman wearing a hijab two rows in front of me.  She was on her feet for the entire show, singing every word of every song with Jon Bon Jovi.  She waved her hands in the air and danced ecstatically–she appeared to be experiencing immense joy for 2 1/2 hours.  That juxtaposition of traditional Muslim dress with the ecstasy, madness and excess of a stadium rock show really struck me.  I admit that I wondered if this young woman would be chastised by more conservative Muslims, perhaps even in her own family, if they knew where she was and what she was doing.  Was this a form of rebellion?  If so, she was not compeltely eschewing her tradition, or she could have taken off the hijab.  Was it a sign of two cultures integrating, or at least negotiating a unique space where the restrictions of traditional religious practice can be suspended for a time without threat of offense or self-harm?  I do not know enough about Islam to answer these questions.  I do know that watching this young woman made me smile, and I had the sense that she was not being overtly irreverent–one might even say that she was finding something sacred in a new environment.

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Dave Nantais, Detroit, MI

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