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Interview with Raja (Radio DJ), Walsall, Birmingham (18 April 2010)

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In the face of racial and religious prejudice, young British Kashmiris on the streets of Walsall use music as a means to articulate the struggles they face. Territories are fiercely defended from rival gangs through a mixture of violence, intimidation and rap music. This interview, with a local Kashmiri radio DJ, focuses on the experiences of Kashmiri Muslims who live in Walsall, an industrial town in the West Midlands, England. Other British Asians, the media, politicians and academics have described Kashmiris as 'backward', of a low social status and of having little interest in music. In addition to this, young Kashmiri boys have low educational achievement rates and disproportionate numbers are found in the country's prisons. This interview identifies some of the reasons why these issues are particular to Kashmiris, and attempts to shine a spotlight on some of the creative ways in which young Kashmiris articulate and challenge the everyday problems they face.
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Keywords: British Kashmiri; Kashmiri Muslim; crime; education; identity; music; rap

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Oxford

Publication date: May 30, 2012

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  • merging from an international network project funded by the British Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economics and Social Research Council, and research collaboration between academics and practitioners, Performing Islam is the first peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal about Islam and performance and their related aesthetics. It focuses on socio-cultural as well as the historical and political contexts of artistic practices in the Muslim world. The journal covers dance, ritual, theatre, performing arts, visual arts and cultures, and popular entertainment in Islam-influenced societies and their diasporas. It promotes insightful research of performative expressions of Islam by performers and publics, and encompasses theoretical debates, empirical studies, postgraduate research, interviews with performers, research notes and queries, and reviews of books, conferences, festivals, events and performances.
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