Ahmad Dhani of Dewa

Oct 10th, 2006, in News, by

Rock group Dewa’s lead guitarist Ahmad Dhani is featured in the Washington Post.

The tunes of many Dewa songs, particularly “Aku Milikku”, which has a really fine opening, and ending, are a familiar sound in the Indonesia Matters bunker and it’s pleasing to see the group’s main man get some international attention, if not precisely for his music.

Ahmad Dhani of Dewa
Ahmad Dhani of Dewa

The WP writes on 7th October that Dhani is battling hard to keep Indonesian youth away from the influence of radical Islam. In the United States currently to, of all things, meet with top U.S. government and military leaders at the 2006 National Homeland Defense Foundation Symposium in Colorado, Dhani, accompanied by Abdurraham “Gus Dur” Wahid, says that he seeks to promote a harmonious, moderate Islam through his music. Dhani apparently asked for long term assistance from the West to help in combating extremism in Islam.

A drop out from a fundamentalist Islamic school Dhani came to be increasingly influenced by the Naqshbandi school of Sufism, a mystical form of Islam well suited to the Javanese mind and popular in East Java in particular, and the effects of this have been increasingly seen in the music of the band. In late 2004 the album “Laskar Cinta”, or “Warriors of Love” was launched, the title of which was likely a play on the name of a militant jihadist group “Laskar Jihad” (Holy War Warriors) whose members wrought much misery and death upon Indonesian Christians in the civil wars of central Sulawesi and the Malukus in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.

Radical Islamic groups took a dim view of Ahmad Dhani and he and his family went into hiding in 2005. However by the end of the year the band had produced a new album, “Republik Cinta” (Republic of Love), this time with a song entitled “Laskar Cinta” (the previous album of the same name did not have a title track), in which apparently some Quranic and hadith verses were included in the lyrics of.

Read Rock Star Rattles Radical Islam at Washington Post, there is also an older article from the same place, Songs Against Terrorism, October 2005. See also Libforall.

42 Comments on “Ahmad Dhani of Dewa”

  1. Hassan says:

    just a curiosity, what does “Dhani apparently asked for long term assistance from the West” actually means? is he asking for money from the u.s.?

    what kind of “assistance” did he asked for from the u.s.? assistance in writing lyrics for his songs?

    btw, i don’t think his lyrics meant anything for Indonesia’s youth. most of them just took them for what they are, songs. no more, no less..

    and I think Indonesian youth are more into his wife’s songs, ‘teman tapi mesra’ and ‘lelaki buaya darat’ than any of his’. more catchy than dhani’s messaged songs, most people simply don’t get those messages and just enjoyed the tunes.

  2. Bradlymail says:

    you’re talking cock and bull sh*t!

  3. Anonymous_aloy says:

    Hassan said “…most people simply don’t get those messages and just enjoyed the tunes….”

    which make the attacks against him look even more ridiculous..

  4. Hassan says:

    Anonymous_aloy: ahh, the liberal from utankayu returned. last time I checked you ran out from your “strawman argument”. which attacks are you talking about dude?

    sorry, but i didn’t know you’re a die hard dewa fanatic. what I said is a fact: “”¦most people simply don’t get those messages and just enjoyed the tunes”¦.”
    MOST people (not all) bought their music to have fun, not to be baffled by intricate lyrics. SOME do bought it for more serious matters (like you obviously).

    Bradlymail: what’s with the language?? aren’t you fasting?

  5. Bradlymail says:

    I used Singapore languange-means ‘you are talking nonsense’ In Singapore,this is not a ‘vulgar word’. If you have Singaporean friends, you can ask them the meaning of that words. Am i fasting? none of your business, this is between me and my mighty god. Please don’t ‘kaypoh’ – means – ‘jangan jaga tepi kain orang’. Ok..peace brother ‘selamat berpuasa’.

  6. Hassan says:

    Bradlymail: if you open the english dictionary my friend then the words: cock and bullsh*t have a very negative conotation.

    if you read up about the term ‘amar makruf nahyi munkar’ then you’ll understand that to remind others is our responsibility. if the person ignores it, then we have no responsibility for their actions. our responsibility is to remind others, that’s all. the term “religion is between me and God” is actually a Christian principle, not an Islamic one. Islam knows hablum minAllah and hablum minannaas.

    if you open the Quran 103:1-3
    1. By Al-Asr (the time).
    2. Verily! Man is in loss,
    3. Except those who believe (in Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth (i.e. order one another to perform all kinds of good deeds) which Allah has ordained, and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which Allah has forbidden, and recommend one another to patience (for the sufferings, harms, and injuries which one may encounter in Allah’s Cause during preaching His religion of Islamic Monotheism or Jihad, etc.).

    again, now i will mind my own business. ‘jangan jaga tepi kain orang’.

  7. Bradlymail says:

    Hassan maybe you have ‘dirty’ interperation. In Singapore this phrase ‘talking cock’ means – you are talking nonsense. You can refer to http://www.talkingcock.com. Other meaning – ‘cock’ means ‘male chicken’ or ‘ayam jantan’ and I wasn’t refer to your ‘cock’. I hope you can read more english dictionaries book. ‘Bullsh*t’ I meant ‘your are talking liar’. Are you the great liar?

    Anyway,thanks for advising me and sorry i do not have Arabic dictionary.Peace on you.

  8. Hassan says:


    btw, I’m not lying. most Indonesian bought ahmad dhani’s record for fun, not for it’s religious aspect.

  9. Anonymous_aloy says:

    That’s correct Hassan, we heard you the first time.

    That’s exactly why all these attacks from radical Muslims (and those who pretend to be moderats) on the rock band, including accusing them of being Zionist agents are ridiculous.

    Not being a fan of the band myself, I become sympathetic to their cause after learning about the attacks on them, the attacks Hassan been trying to divert the discussion from.

    To those unfamiliar with the issues, one of the attacks came in the form of trying to link one group member of the band to an intricate plot of Zionist conspiracy. It’s so outrageous you could be forgiven if you thought Ali G/Borat was writing these accusations.

    To be dismissive of such attacks reveals how one’s view about freedom of speech in general.

    During the height of the attacks on Ahmad Dhani, there were articles appearing in some mailing lists purporting to shed light on who Ahmad Dhani is. It all comes down to accusing him as a Zionist agent… It was so ridiculous and full of anti-Semitic cliches I thought Ali G aka Borat was involved in writing it. And this is how Ahmad Dhani responded:

    “Memang benar, keluarga sebelah ibu saya orang Jerman yang mempunyai darah keturunan Yahudi. Apakah itu salah? Bapak saya orang Indonesia dan saya beragama Islam. Bagi saya, tidak semua orang Yahudi jahat dan tidak semua orang Islam itu baik,” ujar Dhani seperti detikhot lansir dari Utusan, Senin (23/1/2006). ”

    Loose translation:
    “Yes, my mother’s side is German with Jewish ancestry. What is wrong with that? My father is an Indonesian and I am a Muslim. In my view, not all Jewish are evil and not all Muslims are good.”..

    So basically he just told the Muslim radicals to shove it. You cannot expect less from a friend of Gus Dur.

  10. Bradlymail says:

    actually,what’s the big issue ? thre is nothing wrong with ahmad dhani ! so what if he has Jewish blood !

  11. Anonymous_aloy says:

    Exactly! That’s my point! The radicals is using anti-Semitism/anti-Zionist sentiments to attack him. In some circles (read: the radical mass) this proved to have been effective, as there were pressure and demonstrations against the rock Band.

    But like Gus Dur, Dhani couldn’t care less about these accusations. His courage to stand against these attacks is commendable.

    But of course some people like Hassan would prefer to dismiss the attacks and can only comment on the quality of Dewa’s music. Of which I don’t even care.

  12. Hassan says:

    anonymous_alloy: actually i never heard of those attacks on dhani, honestly. please forgive my ignorance.

  13. Peace says:

    btw, i don’t think his lyrics meant anything for Indonesia’s youth. most of them just took them for what they are, songs. no more, no less..

    I love Dewa songs because of their lyrics and their music.
    I acknowledge the messages they’re trying to spread out with those songs.
    I’m sure many people in Indonesia are like me, too bad not all people like Dewa.

    Dhani has Jewish blood? No wonder he likes to wear that Star of David pendant. That answered my question. Thanks for the info Anonymous_aloy

  14. Anonymous_aloy says:

    Hi Peace,
    Either Dhani really has Jewish blood or he just said that to infuriate his attackers.

    If the first is true, it’s great of him to defend his heritage and open people’s eyes that bigotry has no place in the world. When I was a kid, I was fortunate enough to have “guru ngaji” (a teacher of Quran reading) who always steer away from anti-Semitic teachings. Not all of Indonesian Muslims are as fortunate though, as is evident in these attacks against Dhani.

    If the latter is true, that DhanI just said that he has Jewish blood to infuriate his attackers, then it’s great too. Whatever infuriates the radicals usually makes me happy.

    Hassan, I thought you knew about these attacks. I retract my accusation about you being dismissive of these attacks.

  15. Peace says:

    🙂 with or without his Jewish blood Dhani is still Dhani, and he’s cool.
    Actually at first when seeing him wearing that pendant, I thought he just wanted to mock the radicals.
    Yes, you are lucky to have that cool guru ngaji.

  16. Philly Mcfadden says:

    Dhani has Jewish blood? Wow… it’s so awesome! May he will be a Great Blessings for Indonesia… God bless Ahmad Dhani!

  17. Mia says:

    He’s Jewish!!! for sure!

  18. bradlymail says:

    He’s Jewish!!! for sure!

    So what if he is a Jew?

  19. Taetieal says:

    I’ve just come across Dhani and Dewa, I’m Australian and we don’t get much contact with indo, in the sense of we don’t really hear of anything unless we look for it, and I think that for there to be a band in this time of bloodshed, with a message of such peace through music is excellent! If anyone would like to enlighten me more of the matters of this then email me at fritz_the_cat56@hotmail.com. My ears and eyes are open.

  20. Burhan says:

    So what if he has Jewish ancestry? When will the ‘I hate all Jews’-type Muslims grow up? Don’t they realise that majority of the prophets of Islam were Israelites?

    Most Muslims confuse Zionism with Jews and vice versa.

    Wonder what reaction will I get wearing an Israeli Army cap in a mosque? Hmmmmm

  21. Theywar says:

    Dhani is just a good musician, he writes good poetry love songs, I am a fan of dewa but I don’t look at dhani as an idol.
    He still has a lot think to study, maybe because he was born as Muslim the words influence on it. But the truth is he is just the hero on his own music, nothing involved with islam. Islam is love, and that’s just related to his song. What he published is only a drop of water in a sea.
    Islam doesn’t have any relation with rock music! I said the music is just for temporary pleasure, the world now is too liberal.

    Who is dhani? Pejuang? Warrior?
    He is a rock star! And also a Muslim, a Muslim rock star?

    So how the rock star live? Practically all rockstars will be the same, cheers.

  22. DewI says:

    I am a fan of Dewa and obviously a fan of Ahmad Dhani because they always come out with a meaningful, beautiful songs and of course powerful lyrics which is undeniable (well, at least for me lah!)…

    Theywar, you don’t have to be Osama Laden to be a warrior of Islam (is he? I don’t think soooo!). You don’t have to be one. Anyone can be a warrior of their respective religion. As in Islam, we all are born as a khalifah Allah, a servant to Allah. Warrior does not mean you got to shed a blood from one’s body, it could be in many many ways. And Dhani uses music as his weapon.

    I am not telling you this because I idolized Ahmad Dhani and Dewa as whole but hey, he is nothing like a typical rock star. He doesn’t smoke. He doesn’t do alcohol. He pray according to Islam fardhu ain teaching – 5 times a day and bla… bla… bla… yadda yadda… although in my eyes he neglected his responsibility as a Muslim husband (which he not supposed to exposed his wife, Maia (of now-defunct Ratu duo))… by hey again, nobody perfect!

    About Dhani having a Jew ancestry in his blood – what’s wrong with that? He didn’t asked for it in the first place. His mom married to his dad, and tadaaa! Here he come, Ahmad Dhani. He can’t choose his mom! D’uhhh! And Mia, this doesn’t make Ahmad Dhani a Jewish, at all.

    *same goes to Shakira. Doesn’t make she a Muslim although she is half Lebanese.

  23. Aluang Anak Bayang says:

    Friends, all Jews’ blood are halal. The Quran is clear in this.

  24. Neoshida says:

    I love Dewa’s music so much.. Ahmad Dhani to me is one of a kind.. He’s a genius.. The music is smart, probably the best in Asia.. So let concentrate more to the music than any of those bullsh*t that mess around..

  25. Ahmad Yani says:

    All the pictures and lyrics in DEWA’s albums means for “yahudi” messages…. Nowadays, all teenagers so influences by songs and lyrics. This is the way “they” spread out the message thru out the world.

  26. lisno says:

    Dhani is the best musician in Indonesia. I ever discuss with Dhani about religion and humanity. I guest he is one of the jenious man in Indonesia and also he is not selfish, whose many indonesian people is hyprocity. God Bless you Mr Ahmad Dhani.

  27. no-dhani says:

    OK still agree with ahmad dhani? Check this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iogp12mm-Io

  28. Pena Budaya says:

    Dhani is the best musician in Indonesia. I ever discuss with Dhani about religion and humanity. I guest he is one of the jenious man in Indonesia and also he is not selfish, whose many indonesian people is hyprocity. God Bless you Mr Ahmad Dhani.

    Wooooo….Dhani is the best musician in Indonesia?? His singing is soo awfull! I think you must be Dhani himself heh? Your English sounds like his..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xnkamjUqN0

    BTW, his appearance now looked like a FPI member. And the way he treated his wife Maia looked like a conservative Muslim man who can not accept the fact that his wife is doing well in her career.

  29. Mohammed Khafi says:

    Dhani is a typical religious hypocrite who will use religion for his own purposes, if it sells records or attracts fame he will support one view, if it suits his ‘little brother’s’ needs he will support another.

    He no more understands Al Quran and the message of Allah, than a dog on the street.


  30. Marisa says:

    He’s a brilliant artist, too bad he got too arrogant.

    And he hates the internets..

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