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“Music is so, so powerful. In music, you have a universal human language.”

The history of music, art and religion is impossible to separate — last week,  World Spinning’s Lark Clark shared an in-depth chat with Dr. Ali Asani, Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures at Harvard on the topic.

Asani was in Calgary to give a talk entitled Combating Islamophobia Through The Arts.

He tells Lark that, contrary to beliefs that Islam forbids music, “the sound arts” lie at the heart of the religion and is an essential part of life to most Muslims.

“I think people are so focused on what I call the ‘loud aspects’ of religion,” he says, citing the ideas of power, control and nationalism that are often woven into talk of religion.

“I would hold that these kinds of expressions of religion are the expressions of the elites … but for many ordinary people, religion is an experience. It is an aesthetic experience.”

Asani speaks poetry and prophecy, the aesthetics of the Qur’an and more in an insightful and engaging conversation