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24 February 2018
15 June 2015

Latvian composer Imants Kalnins: I embraced Islam in front of God

Latvian composer Imants Kalnins: I embraced Islam in front of God 

One of the most prominent Latvian composers, politician and translator of the Holy Quran meaning into Latvian 73-years old Imants Kalnins said in his interview to BaltNews.1v that he is working hard to improve his Arabic. He confessed that he embraced Islam in front of God, but he has not pronounced the shahada yet. In Imants Kalnins’s opinion, Islam is the religion for spiritually strong people. We hope that you find the interview with the composer interesting.

- Have you stopped working as a composer?

- I am not sure about that. I am working hard on my Arabic at the moment. I would like to master it entirely.

- How did you manage to translate Quran into Latvian without perfectly knowing Arabic?

- My knowledge of the Arabic language allows me to translate from it.

- Is it true that you converted to Islam?

- There is a certain procedure which should be followed when a person converts to Islam. I have embraced Islam in front of God. I have not embraced it in front of people in accordance with the procedure.

- How does it suit the Latvian culture and identity?

- It does suit. Any religion presents a system of guidelines. There are many religions in the world. There are many systems of guidelines…

- What are the advantages of Islam over Christianity considering the fact that they both have the same origin?

- There are no decorative layers in Islam which do exist in Christianity. In Islam, God is above all.  But Islam requires the person to be strong. Spiritually strong, I mean. In Islam, an individual addresses God by himself. He cannot ask any mediator to help him in front of God. He can ask neither Son, nor Mother. He is alone in front of God. He is responsible for everything he says or does by himself. This requires self-discipline and spiritual strength.

-What do you thinkg about militant Islam and Islamists?

- There is Islam which cannot be changed by anything. This Islam was created by God. At the same time, there is politics. There is a political Islam. In its essence, political Islam has nothing to do with Islam. Political Islam uses religion to own advantage. It is like nationalism which means caring about own nation. However, there is political nationalism which is used to achieve certain political targets. These are two completely different things. I distinguish between them. I do not understand the notions of Islamism and Islamists. This is something very flashy.

For your reference: Well-known Latvian composer and politician Imants Kalnins published the first translation of the Quran meaning into Latvian. The first translation of the Holy Quran in Latvian officially saw light after Kalnins’ long-term work on May 31st, 2011.
A 70-year old Kalnins is one of the most famous composers in the history of Latvia. He has written a considerable number of symphonies, operas, classical and choral music, a lot of movie and theatre music and many pop and rock songs. He is the honorary member of the Latvian academy of Sciences (1996), the holder of the Grand Music Award (the Supreme Latvian State award, 1997) and the knight of the three stars Order.