A few weeks ago a close friend invited me to perform in Greece. When he told me what it was for I immediately responded by saying "Yes, I'm coming!" The event was to be The FIRST Islamic event in Greece. The performance was last Monday (20th April) and I came back the following day. It was a very humble setting and not terribly well organised but that didn't matter, because the main reason for me being there was not to 'perform' or give a 'concert', but to contribute in lifting the morale and spirits of the Greek Muslim Population there. Alhamdulillah, by the grace of God, I believe we managed to achieve that.
Unfortunately, the cradle of democracy and 'civilization' has a lot to live up to if it's to go back to it's 'roots'. Ironically, the country where Democracy was founded in, is arguably, the least democratic amongst its European neighbors today. When I arrived on Monday 20th April, I was greeted by the Mufti of Greece and he told me Muslims faced many issues and challenges there. Simple things like having mosques, choosing their own Imams, being treated equal to the rest of the Greek population were just a few in the list of concerns ... In any case, things are improving Alhamdulillah. On Tuesday 21st April, a landmark event took place in the North of Greece - the very FIRST Islamic Event was held. I was totally taken aback by the audience and feedback, it's as though the Muslim community felt true respect and pride that day! I remember walking into the stadium to sound check only to find several thousand people already sitting and waiting (before the show has even started!).Agt one point, Erkan - the brother who invited me there - asked for me to say salam to his family, once I approached them I was immediately spotted by the rest of the audience to which I got an unwarranted, undeserved standing ovation Consequently, I was taken around the stadium saying Salam and greeting people all around, very emotional experience mA.
To be honest, I was totally overwhelmed... I thought to myself, how did these brothers and sisters get to know of me? Subhan ALLAH, totally taken aback.
I asked Erkan if I could be present during the show from beginning to end as I wanted to get a taste of Greek Muslim culture I sat in the side and enjoyed Erkan Mutlu's songs (God bless him, he's a humble man) followed by Mesut's songs.
I couldn't help feeling sad and happy at the same time. For example, the audience listened to some Quranic recitations and after it finished began to clap loudly as they truly thought that was the appropriate manner of responding - I was sad they felt so spiritually oppressed for so many years!! Not being able to 'get together' like Muslims in other parts of Europe and/or the rest of the world!
Overall, it was a landmark event. A 'full house' consisting 7 thousand people not to mention the several thousand waiting outside! All gathering in of Praise God and feeling pride in their faith and identity.
I thank Erkan for giving me the opportunity to take part in this great khair. God bless him, the Greek Muslims and the rest of Ummah - amin.
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