The Muslim American Society (MAS), a part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, is promoting the U.S. tour of a European hip-hop band who are said to exemplify a “positive message” but whose first song release contains lyrics appearing to justify Palestinian terrorism. According to a press release on the tour
Outlandish (Sony/BMG), a popular award-winning European hip-hop band that promotes positive messages to youth in their music will headline the MAS Youth (Muslim American Society) concert tour in Tampa, on June 6.The concert, which is billed as the ‘Voices For Change’ tour, will make a stop at the Sun Dome at the University of Southern Florida. The tour is scheduled to visit six cities across the United States including Tampa, Chicago, Detroit, New York, Los Angeles and Dallas. According to Omar Atia, Vice President of MAS Youth, “Our goal with this tour is to promote positive messaging to American youth while empowering them with the knowledge that they have options of making good choices and that they can be instrumental in making positive changes in their lives as well as others in their communities.” Headlining the concert will be Outlandish, a European hip-hop trio consisting of three longtime friends, two Muslims and one Christian. The content and lyrics of their songs are written to remind people of their potential and convey positive messages about life and self-fulfillment. “We selected Outlandish to headline the tour due to the band’s amazing live energy, positive messaging in their music and ability to reach out to fans of all ages and backgrounds,” said Atia. Outlandish, which is signed to the Sony/BMG label, has gained a reputation in the music industry as a group which creates music with a positive message, motivating lyrics and clean music/videos devoid of any references to sex, drugs or negative language. Outlandish’s hip-hop/R&B/soul music sound takes influences from their various backgrounds (Moroccan/Arab/Amazigh, Pakistani/Punjabi and Latin American), and although their songs are primarily in English, they usually feature lyrics in Spanish, Urdu/Punjabi, Danish, and Arabic.
The group’s first single was called “Look Into My Eyes” said to be based on a poem by Palestinian Gihad Ali described as:
…a volunteer with the Arab American Action Network (AAAN) and the Palestine Solidarity Group, both in Chicago, wrote a poem called “Eye to Eye” a couple of years ago. She has since performed this poem dozens of times…Danish rap group, Outlandish, based its single, “Look Into My Eyes,” on Gihad’s poem. Their album, “Closer Than Veins,” was released on October 31st, and “Look Into My Eyes,” which was the first single from the album, reached NUMBER 1 on the national airplay hitlist in Denmark
The poem has been described as expressing “the plight of those suffering from America’s foreign policy with regards to Israel and Palestine” A sample of the lyrics include:
American, do you realize, that the taxes that you pay feed the forces that traumatize my every living day?
The bulldozers and the tanks,the gases and the guns, the bombs that fall outside my door, all due to American funds.
Yet do you know the truth of where your money goes?
Do you let your media deceive your mind? Is this a truth that no one knows?
You blame me for defending myself against the ways of Zionists.
I’m terrorized in my own land and I’m the terrorist
A video based on the song was said to feature the fairy-tale Little Red Riding Hood. It portrays an Israeli soldier as the Wolf and the Palestinian girl, wearing a Kaffiyeh, as Little Red Riding Hood. Outlandish performed a live percussion version of “Look Into My Eyes” at the “Islamophobia” conference held in Copenhagen, Denmark in May 2006 which featured several Muslim Brotherhood leaders such as Jamal Badawi. Also in 2006, the group performed at the annual ‘Reviving the Islamic Spirit’ conference in Toronto where other Muslim Brotherhood leaders were in attendance including Tariq Ramadan. A right-wing politician in Denmark mounted an effort to boycott the group.
The MAS was founded in 1993 and had been a less well-known part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood until the Chicago Tribune did a feature story on the group in September 2004 identifying its connections to the Brotherhood.