Rocking the casbah
In Rock & Roll Jihad, Salman Ahmad—once an unassuming teenager playing guitar in a suburban New York garage band—chronicles his transformation from Pakistani medical student to world-renowned musician.
Ahmad now uses the music of his band, Junoon, to bridge borders and find common ground between feuding societies. As relayed in the book, his life brims with the pop-cultural experiences that mark his journey from the Beatlesque optimism of his early career to a more recent Dylan-inspired political agenda. With a cast and crew of multiethnic characters and influences including pop icons such as Bono, professional athletes and national leaders, his writing at times seems like lists of trivia. But Ahmad takes great care to include individuals with a lasting impact on his life. In the end, the book dwells heavily on his personal musings on fame and cultural conflicts—such as his accusation that Muslims don’t play rock music—becoming more about the man than the music.