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Heavy Metal Islam: Rock, Resistance, and the Struggle for the Soul of Islam

  • ISBN13: 9780307353399
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Product Description
“We play heavy metal because our lives are heavy metal.”
—Reda Zine, one of the founders of the Moroccan heavy-metal scene

“Music is the weapon of the future.”
—Fela Kuti

An eighteen-year-old Moroccan who loves Black Sabbath. A twenty-two-year-old rapper from the Gaza Strip. A young Lebanese singer who quotes Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song.” They are as representative of the world of Islam today as the conservatives and extremists we see every night on the news. Heavy metal, punk, hip-hop, and reggae are each the music of protest, and in many cases considered immoral in the Muslim world. This music may also turn out to be the soundtrack of a revolution unfolding across that world.

Why, despite governmental attempts to control and censor them, do these musicians and fans keep playing and listening? Partly, of course, for the joy of self-expression, but also because, in this region, everything is political. In Heavy Metal Islam, Mark LeVine explores the influence of Western music on the Middle East through interviews with musicians and fans, introducing us young Muslims struggling to reconcile their religion with a passion for music and a desire for change. The result is a revealing tour of contemporary Islamic culture through the evolving music scene in the Middle East and Northern Africa. Heavy Metal Islam is a surprising, wildly entertaining foray into a historically authoritarian region where music just might be the true democratizing force.

Heavy Metal Islam: Rock, Resistance, and the Struggle for the Soul of Islam


  1. This is a grad student’s wet dream–a combination of half-understood Interwar social theory, and “cool” manifestations of counter-culture in the Muslim world. In reality, it all has precious little to do with Islam–it’s almost exclusively the work of an educated westernized wealthy elite. LeVine is either dishonest or very very foolish. I’m guessing both.
    Rating: 1 / 5

  2. This is apretty good example of what’s wrong with academic studies of the Islamic world. LeVine is so impressed with his own theory (which is, in brief, “wouldn’t it be, like, totally cool if music, like, liberated the people, man?!?) that he fails to see how utterly irrelevant this music is in the Islamic world. Pretty poorly written too–which is, in any event, standard for these sorts of polemics. A silly book.
    Rating: 1 / 5

  3. Mark LeVine is a musician who had previously been with Mick Jagger but is now a professor of Middle Eastern history at the University of California – Irvine. The book is about heavy metal rock and rapper bands in the Middle East, from Morocco to Pakistan. He speaks of how these bands are seeking peace in the Middle East – but, from his descriptions of that peace, it seems to me that they are seeking a peace without Israel. Although he does claim that the most popular band in the Middle East is a Jewish band called Orphaned Land, consisting of Jewish men who never finished their military service (which indicates Dishonorable Discharges). While their music may be “saturated with religious and biblical themes,” I wonder where they really stand in their loyalty to Israel. And Mark LeVine is also Jewish, so why does he concentrate so heavily on a peace without Israel?
    Rating: 3 / 5

  4. Mark LeVine is researching Islam and Heavy Metal and with his book he is granting an insight to those, that otherwise never would have been able to discover what really is happening in the Islam world of music.

    He catches the vibes of the present time, the atmosphere of the people and musicians involved and presents their fear and their anger in an objective and in a subjective way.

    I recommend to read this book for everyone who is interested and Islam and the arabian countries.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  5. You don’t have to be a fan of heavy metal music to find interest in this book, I know its certainly not my scene. What I like about this book is that Mark Levine isn’t relying on interviews alone to tell the stories of how musician’s struggle in countries that try to censor them, he puts himself in the middle of it. He spends time with these musicians, he performs with them and he sees the heart and the pain behind the music these artists are creating. The book also goes into the internal conflict some of these musicians face in weighing out religion vs music and how they balance the two.

    I would recommend this book to anyone interested in learning about some of the things western and eastern cultures have in common and the differences related to that commonality.
    Rating: 5 / 5


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