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Local Muslim artist brings peace message in new song

Jennifer Sprouse • Dec 18, 2012 at 10:23 PM

“If we don’t have peace, we’ll end up in pieces /Treat people the way that you want to be treated,” may seem like simple lyrics, but with this year’s onset of violent acts happening all over the country, as well as throughout the world, they may be just what people need to hear right now.

After violence spread from an anti-Islam Youtube video in September, Johnson City native Mo Sabri, known locally for his song “Johnson City,” decided to jot down some notes and thus the song “I Believe in Jesus” was created in an effort to show the similarities between Islam and Christianity.

“I couldn’t really sit back and not do anything about it,” Sabri said. “With all of the misinformation going on (about Muslims), I wanted to give ... a message of love and peace and unity. Many people do not know that Muslims do believe in Jesus and we do hold him in very high esteem. I figured that one way to unite people is to talk about Jesus.”

He said the most recent violence seen in the Connecticut school shootings made his message of unity and love even more important to get out there, and he believed “people need a source of hope.”

And to him, that unifying force of hope is Jesus.

“Even as a person he ... was the ideal role model and if people really fall in his footsteps, they’re going to want to spread the message of love and unity, because that’s what he did. He was always hanging out with the outcasts because ... he wanted to unify everyone and make everyone feel ... loved.”

Enlisting the help of his good friend, Toronto Blue Jays pitcher and Johnson City native Daniel Norris, Sabri said the creation of a video for the song started falling into place.

“I sent him (Norris) the song after I wrote it and ... I asked him to be in my video and he immediately was interested,” he said. “Daniel is kind of like the main actor in the video, but it also features a little (introduction) from Jason Witten.”

Witten, the Dallas Cowboys tight end and Elizabethton native, had been previously mentioned in the “Johnson City” song and Sabri was invited to a football camp where he asked Witten to help him with his video.

“I talked to him about filming a little intro to the feature song and he was down for it. So, we were able to kind of link up and it’s kind of cool,” he said.

Sabri said both Norris and Witten are both devoted Christians, so both religions were present in the video that portrays acts of good deeds and kindness.

He said a lot of time went into the making of the video, which is not exactly something he has a lot of these days. As an honors pre-med senior at East Tennessee State University, Sabri juggles classes, studying for the MCAT, touring for shows and writing and recording music in his own home studio.

“It’s kind of fun balancing both, but it’s also very busy,” Sabri said. “My goal is to continue to do both for as long as I can.”

Posting the video for “I Believe in Jesus” Monday, he said it has already received some great feedback, as well as views online.

“The underlying message of this song is the golden rule, is treat people the way you want to be treated,” he said. “A lot of people, especially in this area and also throughout the world and the nation, they don’t necessarily know about Islam and how it’s literally just a message of peace. Another purpose is to kind of share that we’re more similar than different. We can live in harmony and we can live in peace and we can live as brothers and sisters.”

To watch the video for “I Believe in Jesus” visit http://bit.ly/IBelieveInJesus.

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