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News by
Jamie Lamberski

See How This Detroit DJ Risks His Life to Bring Hope & Music to Iraq

You wouldn't think being a radio DJ would be a dangerous occupation, but for Noor Matti it most definitely is. A former resident of Warren, Michigan just north of Detroit, Matti is the radio personality for "The Breakfast Club," a Detroit-themed morning show on the English language station Babylon FM in Iraq.

Matti sees his morning show as not only an opportunity to try and help the Iraqi people forget about the constant war, violence and political strife that surrounds them but to even poke fun at ISIS... something that could easily get him killed.

"We make fun of ISIS," he told Detroit News. "They do things that are so serious and so sad; we just try to laugh about it."

Matti's "Wahshi (Donkey) of the Day," in fact, went to ISIS recently after they destroyed the oldest Christian monastery in Iraq. Matti is a Chaldean Christian himself, and although he isn't afraid of the Islamic extremists, his parents fear for his life, especially because his radio station is just 50 miles from Mosul, the capitol of IS.

"They’ve caught ISIS members in the city. There have been ISIS attacks. So it’s something you’re always living with. I know what they do to people, with the torture and beheadings. And I know they’d like to get me."

Matti’s mission is to make people laugh, encourage them to express themselves and just try to balance out the constant extremist propaganda on IS stations.

"Music is a big middle finger to ISIS," said Matti. "With music, you can talk about love, or whatever else is on your mind, and you can do it free of being threatened. And ISIS hates that."

During the June 2014 ISIS invasion of Mosul, they burned every instrument and piece of music in the city center. Music undermines the core principles of the Islamic State, as it inspires people to think for themselves.

"Our signal reaches them. They hear us. I wouldn’t say I’m scared, although I know the threat is there. I know someone is probably planning to come get me. I don’t think about it. If something’s going to happen, it’s going to happen."

Fleeing Iraq after Operation Desert Storm, Matti and his family settled in Metro Detroit - home of the largest Chaldean population outside of the Middle East - in 1992. But once Saddam's regime ended, Matti returned to be a part of the rebuilding of a community. His parents were not thrilled, but it was't until ISIS took over in 2014 that they began to fear for their only son's life.

Read more about Matti's background and intro into the world of music as well as direct quotes from his interview with Detroit News here: http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/macomb...

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Jamie Lamberski Senior Editor

I'm a storyteller at heart, and music makes my world go round.

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