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The Stars of Sufi Music




Abida Parveen (center) surrounded by fellow performers at the Asia Society in New York on July 22, 2010. (Suzanna Finley)

Abida Parveen (center) surrounded by fellow performers at the Asia Society in New York on July 22, 2010. (Suzanna Finley)

The NY Sufi Music Festival sought to combat perceptions of Islamic Radicalism by representing and celebrating Sufi values of peace, tolerance, and respect through music.

The New York Sufi Music Festival showed New Yorkers a Pakistan you don't usually get to see in the big news headlines. This was a peaceful Pakistan. In the wake of the July bombing of the sacred Sufi shrine of Data Durbar in Lahore, Pakistan and the attempted bombing of Times Square in May, it was clear that the values of peace-loving Pakistanis were in danger of being overshadowed by a violent, extremist minority. The NY Sufi Music Festival sought to combat these misguided perceptions by representing and celebrating Sufi values of peace, tolerance, and respect through music. 

The festival was headed by Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, and organized by Pakistani Peace Builders, a new initiative of New Yorkers, Pakistani-Americans, and Pakistanis.

The three-concert series took place from July 20-22 and featured such famous and respected musicians as living legend Abida Parveen. Unsurprisingly, the festival was a huge success. Fans flocked to New York's Union Square for the free concert on July 20, and the shows at the Rubin Museum of Art and Asia Society filled up almost immediately.

Watch Asia Society's highlights video from the closing concert for footage of Abida Parveen, Akhtar Channel Zehri, and many other extremely talented performers.

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