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Heavy Metal Islam by Mark LeVine | Waterstones

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. Click to the right or left of the sample to turn the page.

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If you are at all interested in Metal and its cultural significance to fans in unexpected areas of the planet it is well worth checking this out. Details of how to purchase it are at the bottom of this introduction. We first became aware of the burgeoning impact of Metal on the Islamic countries when Maiden played the excellent Desert Rock Festival in in Dubai. It was a real melting pot of many nations. The reaction was intense and there was a real feeling that the concert was so very significant to many of those who had travelled long distances to be there and who had never had the chance to see the band before.

However, even considering this, we didn't fully realize at the time the importance of the event to Metal fans there and it was not until a year later, meeting Mark LeVine and becoming acquainted with this recently published book that we began to understand the extent and importance of what was happening with Metal in the Muslim countries.

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

Mark is a musician, author and professor of Middle Eastern history at UC Irvine and he contacted me a couple of weeks prior to our shows at Irvine Meadows, California on May 30 and 31 this year. He told us about his book and himself and asked if he could interview Bruce and myself for some documentary footage about the book.

Impressed by his credentials and fascinated by what he was saying, we readily agreed and met up prior to the show on May We chatted at length and he explained the growth and importance of Metal to many people in the Islamic countries. It quickly became clear how helpful this could be at a time of general misunderstandings between the Islam and the West and that any bridge could further a better mutual understanding and links between the cultures.

Metal is very communal and can provide a basis of contact between people, but it was also staggering to learn from the book and from Mark what fans and musicians have to go through in some of these countries just to have the freedom to listen to and to play the music they prefer. This is currently being brought home most effectively with the current documentary "Heavy Metal in Baghdad" about the Iraqi band Acrassicauda and what they have to go through on a daily basis just to rehearse.

We caught sight of each other as he entered the field of the Dubai Desert Rock Festival, known as the Mecca of the Middle Eastern metal scene. Marz surveyed the crowd of 20, metalheads, most of them Arab kids, quite a few of the girls in the metal equivalent of what has come to be known as "muhajababe" outfits--head scarves over Iron Maiden and Metal T-shirts with tight jeans. He had trouble taking it all in.