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AGRON BELICA

Franklin, Massachusetts, United States

Email: agronbelica@gmail.com

Home page: www.agronbelica.com

Of Albanian descent, first-generation American Agron Belica is largely self-
educated. He accepted the responsibilities of life after his undisciplined teen years,
spent mostly on the street with reckless gangbangers and brushes with the law. He
is now married and the couple now have three children, all boys. His about-face
was total and he began to study inspirational works and comparative religion.
He attended classes on Islam in New Jersey focusing on religious tenets, doctrinal
differences, and the claims and beliefs of various Muslim sects. He also studied
the proper recitation of the Quran and attained such proficiency in it that he was
selected to perform the call to prayer, a great honor in a mosque, second only to
leading the formal prayers.

Belica had a special interest in the history of the Prophet Yahya—John the Baptist.
In 2008, this interest resulted in the issuance of his first essay on the neglected
prophet: The Revival of the Prophet Yahya, a small article presenting an
unorthodox view of Yahya/John. His revolutionary ideas attracted critics, vilifiers,
and supporters. Among the latter, was the enterprising reporter, and award winning
journalist, Tim King of Salem-News.com, who interviewed Belica. With the
publication of that interview, Belica’s ideas went global.

The following year, he released a more thorough exposition of various aspects of
the Yahya question: The Crucifixion: Mistaken Identity? (harvardbookstore.com).
This time, the historical circumstances of the career of John the Baptist, extra-
Biblical sources were carefully studied and cited and Belica’s contention that John
was not beheaded was reinforced by the inclusion of Dr. Jay R. Crook’s essay.
Rethinking John the Baptist, that strongly contests the validity of the Biblical
version of John’s death on chronological grounds. Dr. Crook has also included that
essay as an appendix in the revised edition of the volume on Jesus in his The
Bible: An Islamic Perspective.

Belica’s work on some key words in the Quran has been referenced in Dr. Laleh
Bakhtiar’s The Concordance of the Sublime Quran, a supplemental study resulting
from translation of the Quran, The Sublime Quran, the first such translation by an
American Muslim woman. Dr. Mahmoud Ayoub of the Hartford Seminary, Hartford,
Connecticut, has declared that the book “is an engaging analysis of the life and
mission of the two kindred religious personages, John the Baptist (Yahya) and
Jesus (‘Isa)… the book will add much to the discussion of an epoch-making event
had has shaped world history. The book is informative and entertaining. It is
certainly worth reading.”

In her review of The Crucifixion: Mistaken Identity?, former Harvard University
Professor of English Literature Dr. Harte Wiener wrote: “This book is slim, but both
erudite and yet easy to follow, in its step by step progression through the many
scriptures, seemingly so familiar is Agron Belica with every passage, the apt ones
come easily to mind for him, and strike an immediate chord in us, no matter how
familiar or unfamiliar we are with the text and story. And yet, this book is no recipe
for persuasion. It is much more sophisticated than that. Written in a devout and
true Muslim spirit, it is also—as mentioned at the beginning of this review—an
inquiry and a wholly new contribution to that body of scriptural scholarship. Agron
Belica advances a theory which sheds an entirely novel light on the views that are
commonplace today, and, through an examination of linguistics, passages, intent,
and meaning, causes us to re-examine, in an exciting, clue-ridden way, what we
have assumed to be true about the three major religions for centuries,
concentrating on his own Muslim faith.”

Not resting on his laurels, after making a name for himself with this achievement in
the field of serious comparative religion, he surprised and perhaps shocked his
friends and associates by branching off into a totally different and seemingly-
unrelated area: hip-hop music. He released his first songs in mid-2010 and since
then, he has racked up an impressive number of hits for a newcomer. He quickly
demonstrated that the popular medium can be used constructively as well as to
entertain.

With his early background, it was an easy progression to writing and performing his
own songs about his life experiences. The idea was to find music that was
compatible with his style of singing and reflective lyrics. Belica performs and
records his music at Double D Recording Studio in Franklin, MA. Owner, engineer,
and an active musician himself, Patrick Dreier has produced and co-produced
many albums out of Double D Recording Studio. He has become somewhat of a
mentor for Belica who was new to music as a business, and for this Belica is
eternally grateful.

Drier co-produced Belica’s first album Unexpected. It was released under the Out
of the Blue Records label, Boston, MA. In this album, he addressed several social
issues. Some of the early song titles reflect those interests, such as: Forgiveness,
End of the Road, Street-Life, and Cost to be the Boss. Soon after the release of
Unexpected, he was signed by a second label, Black Tree Music Productions, out
of the West Coast. Agron began working on a new album, Newsic, that was
commissioned by award-winning journalist and news reporter Tim King of Salem-
News.com. In it, Belica’s humanitarian themes are evident: Depression, Hardship,
medical marijuana in Cannabis, his research about the Prophet Yahya/John the
Baptist in Sermon From the Throne, History dedicated to the peace activist Ken
O’Keefe, and his last piece about the personal tragedy of a Jewish child in
Brooklyn Boy.

Tim King says: “Every time Agron releases a new song, it blows me away. It is the
new style, Newsic, and it brings current events into the popular culture better than
almost any medium could. Once you listen to this you will either understand, or
more completely understand the concept. This is not a time on earth to sing songs
that fail to account for the reality of our situation. Newsic allows a solid
interpretation of tragedy in ways that chill the listener to the bone. Agron\'s songs
about Vittorio Arrigoni, the murdered activist who also was ripped away from
humanity at large, the Tamil genocide in Sri Lanka, the plight of the Palestinians—
they are a source of inspiration for so many of us, from the West Coast of the U.S.
to Gaza and every point in between.”

Although the name Agron was borne by the famous King Agron of Illyria (now
Albania), possibly meaning “dawn” in Albanian, Agron is very proud to point out that
the name “Agron” could also be of Hebrew origin, dating back to the first High
Priest Aaron, the brother of Moses. He refers to this interpretation of his name in
Sermon From the Throne, one of the seven tracks of his forthcoming Newsic
album.

A further indication of the breadth of Belica’s worldview and his passion for unity
and peace is the names given to his sons. The eldest is Arabic: Jamal, meaning
handsomeness, beauty. His second son is named from the Hebrew for the beloved
child of Jacob and brother of Joseph, Benjamin. His third is named for the ancient
Macedonian conqueror, Alexander the Great, whose quest was for a united world.
Sadly, Agron comments, “We are still a long way from accomplishing that goal, but
we have to begin somewhere. Why not with the naming of our own Children?” He
hopes that in some small way his work, both in writing and in music, will aid in
achieving that goal.

His friend Dr. Jay R. Crook, the author of a number of books about comparative
religion (The Bible: An Islamic Perspective series) and the translator of several
Persian classics, edited and annotated Belica’s The Crucifixion: Mistaken Identity?
About Belica, he said, “It was while working with him on that book that I got to
know Agron quite well. Not only are his ideas original, but also he is adept at
presenting them to the public. I had expected him to look for some other writing
project after that one was accomplished, but I must confess he surprised me when
he turned instead to singing. When his song was recorded, I was impressed, not
just by the professionalism of the production, but by the lyrics he wrote himself
from his own life experience as well. Just as his ideas about John the Baptist were
original, so was the content of his song. Then, he has astonished me by putting
together one song after another, each one different, but all possessing a unity of
presentation and depth. That he could continue to meet or excel that standard set
by his first song is nothing short of amazing.”
Moreover, the pro-Palestinian activist and award-winning musician, Gilad Atzmon,
has said about Agron’s music: “If beauty is the capacity to introduce a change,
Agron Belica is the true meaning of the culture of resistance. Through the beat, the
lyrics, and the fat bass you can hear the sound of hope, but you can also envisage
the prospect of a better future.”
We are hoping to hear more from this remarkable and talented author, singer, and
songwriter, God-willing.

Interests: Reading, writing, and singing.

Published writer: Yes

Freelance: No

 

Published works:

Nonfiction

  • The Crucifixion: Mistaken Identity? John the Baptist and Jesus the Christ