Aki Nawaz

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Aki Nawaz
Birth name Haq Nawaz Qureshi
Born 1961
Bradford, Yorkshire, England
Genres Post-punk
Gothic rock
Political hip hop
Islamic hip hop
Occupation(s) Vocalist, songwriter
Instruments drums
Years active 1981–present
Labels Beggars Banquet
Associated acts Fun-da-mental
Southern Death Cult
Getting the Fear

Aki Nawaz (born Haq Nawaz Qureshi) is a British singer and musician and part of the band Fun-Da-Mental. He is best known for his controversial lyrics.


In the 1980s, using his proper name Haq Qureshi, he played drums with the gothic rock band Southern Death Cult, a forerunner to The Cult, featuring Ian Astbury on vocals. When Astbury moved on to found his own band, the remaining musicians stayed together for a time as Getting the Fear, recruiting new singer Bee Hampshire from Futon, but eventually broke up. In 1986, Nawaz moved to London, set up a management company and signed artists to major record labels. Two years later, he formed Nation Records as a label primarily focused on creating fusions between different musical forms from all over the world for a more youth-oriented audience.[1]

Nawaz advocates a certain Islamic orthopraxy, expressing total opposition to alcohol and drug use. He believes that there should be a unity between Afro-Caribbeans and Asians because he believes that the struggles that the two groups face are exactly the same. Through his music, Nawaz attempts to "normalize" the Islamic presence in Britain as well as to explain the reasons for fundamentalist tendencies among Muslim youth.[2] Nawaz has collaborated with many traditional musicians, both in the studio and live: these include Huun Huur Tu, Rizwan Muazzam Qawwal-Mighty, Zulu Nation (a South African hip-hop group), and Gazi Khan (an artist from Rajasthan).[1]

Fun-Da-Mental worked with progressive Asian bands to help fight racism and spoke at anti-racist benefits. The group emphasizes militancy and self-defense as weapons against racism.[3]

Nawaz has been criticized by Islamic community members not only for his lyrics, but also for his group Fun-Da-Mental's recital of verses from the Qur'an over musical beats. Some Muslims believe this goes against what they regard as a fundamental tenet of Islam. In this sense, Nawaz's musical contributions are considered controversial for their lyrics as well as for their religious content[2] Nawaz claims he is prepared to face the consequences of any of his albums' releases, saying, "I'll take all the blame. If they're going to lock anyone up they'll lock me up."[4]

Controversy over lyrics[edit]

The controversy behind "All is War" lies in its lyrics, which could be interpreted as glorifying terrorism. One of the songs, "Cookbook DIY," (the song's title being likely a reference to The Anarchist Cookbook) includes instructions for making a home-made bomb. The video to this song makes many visual references to America. The video ends with a shot of graffiti which quotes John F. Kennedy's statement "If we make peaceful revolution impossible, we make violent revolution inevitable."


  1. ^ a b Nawaz at Indianelectronica
  2. ^ a b Swedenburg, Ted. "Islamic Hip-hop vs. Islamophobia." In Global Noise: Rap and Hip-Hop Outside the USA, 57-85. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2001.
  3. ^ Swedenburg, Ted. "Islamic Hip-hop vs. Islamophobia."
  4. ^ The rapper who likens Bin Laden to Che Guevara

External links[edit]