People We Love :: Waseem Mahmood

Music to End Intolerance

After hearing his sons’ ongoing frustration over the stereotypes of Islam they heard from schoolmates and the media, British producer Waseem Mahmood decided to take action—by creating a pop song and launching a movement.

Mahmood recruited Shuja Haider and Ali Moeen, Pakistan’s foremost lyricist, to write the song, “Yeh Hum Naheen” (“This is Not Us”). The lyrics, like these lines, translated from Urdu, take aim at misperceptions of Islam: “The name by which you know us—we are not that … The stories that are being spread in our name are lies—this is not us.”

Mahmood used the song to launch a petition drive in Pakistan condemning terrorism. Six thousand volunteers helped  gather more than 60 million signatures.

“It’s very moving,” Mahmood says. “It’s almost as if we’ve given [the people of Pakistan] something they were waiting for.”

Watch the music video for “Yeh Hum Naheen”

Waseem Mahmood
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Catherine Bailey wrote this article as part of The New Economy, the Summer 2009 issue of YES! Magazine. Catherine is an editorial assistant at YES!Magazine. Photo of Catherine Bailey
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