Heavy Metal Rocks in the Muslim World

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A so-called "Muhajababe"-- a young woman who wears a headscarf, but dresses in otherwise "normal" cl

A so-called "Muhajababe"-- a young woman who wears a headscarf, but dresses in otherwise "normal" clothing. Courtesy of Mark Levine hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of Mark Levine

Musician and college professor Mark LeVine spent the past six years jammin' with musicians, and interviewing fans and performers alike at heavy metal concerts all around the Middle East and North Africa. He found kids in Morocco morockin' (ha) with goth make-up and kilts; twentysomethings in Iran with metal shirts and long hair; and Saudi women in hijabs head-banging to their favorite songs. For many of them, playing and listening to heavy metal represents a sort of autonomy, a way of being free, in countries that put limits on artistic expression. Others are weary of defining the music as a subversive, political statement, and simply enjoy the sounds and lyrics of bands like Iron Maiden.

He wrote about the experiences in a book called Heavy Metal Islam. Heavy metal, and Islam — huh? That's what I thought, too. Well, try this one: the most popular heavy metal band in the Muslim world, Orphaned Land, is Israeli — wha?! Again, I'm with you. But, in the world Mark presents, music has the power to unite.

If you're Muslim and a heavy metal fan, what does the music mean to you? And who's your favorite band?



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I lived in Dubai for nineteen years, before the advent of the Desert Rock Festivals, so metal was still very much a part of the subculture at the time. Props to Mr. Levine for his work in bringing to light the reach and power of heavy metal in a very misunderstood and maligned part of the world.

Sent by Michael | 12:04 AM | 7-12-2008

At some point we all need to realize, as human beings, that we're all the same, now matter how or with what we're indoctrinated. Bands like Iron Maiden transcend the religious and racial barriers, in turn, the fans relate to what they represent. Freedom, escape, fun, imagination, and singularity.

Sent by Sam Young | 6:32 AM | 7-12-2008

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