Salman Ahmed: The Whisper in your Heart

In a presentation called Sounds Intersecting and Overlapping Cultures, Pakistani rocker Salman Ahmad told a selected audience at Princeton Public Library: Let the mind shut up and let the heart take over. Ahmad, a United Nations ambassador and a Muslim rock star, spoke at TEDxNJ. TEDx is a national organization that aims to leverage ideas to change the world, and this was New Jersey’s contribution, hosted by Princeton Public Library. Ahmad charmed and inspired the audience with his story, including a priceless account of attending his first rock concert, Led Zeppelin at Madison Square Garden.

The TEDxNJLIbes event could accommodate only 100 people, and you had to make a formal application to attend.

But if you missed, it, here’s another chance to hear Ahmed. Next week — along with African dancers, a klezmer band, and a gay gospel choir – he will perform at Fellowship in Prayer’s 60th anniversary conference on Saturday, June 26, at 7 p.m. in Princeton University’s Richardson Auditorium.

The conference begins with a reception on Thursday evening, June 24, and continues with two full days of presentations on Friday and Saturday, June 25 and 26, culminating in a worship service at Princeton University Chapel on Sunday, June 27. The conference costs $250 (discounts for students and seniors), but the worship service is open to all, and the concert is $20 at the door. Call 609-924-6863 or http://www.fellowshipinprayer.org.

Called “the unlikely champion of a more moderate version of Islam,” Ahmad has a band, Junoon, billed as the biggest and longest lasting rock band in South Asia, and his book, “Rock & Roll Jihad” has just been published.

Ahmad’s chanting song captivated me. He sang the same chant at another TEDx event, at USC, but the audience was more responsive here.

“Follow that whisper in your heart. It may not have wings, but it has the power to fly,” says Ahmad. That thought captured the spirit of the TEDxNJ day.

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