Heavy Metal in Baghdad Update

The first radio program in the Inside Islam series was “Heavy Metal Islam” on September 25, 2008. One of our guests on that show, Suroosh Alvi, co-directed a the documentary Heavy Metal in Baghdad. In the film (which is now available to view online for free) we meet Acrassicauda, the only heavy metal band in Iraq. The band has now moved to New Jersey after being exiled in Turkey.

Acrassicauda resurfaced on NPR’s Fresh Air in an interview on March 17th. Since the time of the documentary, the world and band members of Acrassicauda have seen the country continue to crumble after the fall of Saddam Hussein. The new goals of the Obama administration in Iraq include restoring stability to the government and helping cope with the country’s refugee crisis.

Do you think that will mean that bands and other people who have left the country will return and help stabilize the country as well? What do you think about the situation in Iraq today? Do you believe that heavy metal is unislamic? Should heavy metal play a part in reconstructing Iraq as well? Please leave your thoughts in a comment below or send us a message via email.

Riazat Butt: Famous for 30 seconds

Host of Islamophonic and journalist for Guardian UK Riazat Butt turned down the chance to be “Famous for 30 seconds” in an anti-extremism ad campaign for Pakistani youth. PREVENT, the campaign’s sponsor organization, asked her and others to represent the face of moderate Islam in Britain and set an example for youth in the Muslim world.

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“Broccoli is My Personal Jihad”

A Land Called Paradise, Directed by Lena Khan:

Lena Khan won the One Nation Film Contest earlier this year with the video above, “A Land Called Paradise.” According to an article by Special Correspondent for American.gov Serena Kim, Khan has received a lot of attention since releasing the video. Kim writes:

Since the video’s launch, Khan has received hundreds of e-mails from people who say the video has made them cry, inspired them to open a discussion about Islam with their families or broken down walls built by stereotypes.

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Heavy Metal Bands from Across the Globe

We only had an hour on yesterday’s Here on Earth show on heavy metal and Islam. That’s not enough time to cover a wide range of innovative music from around the world, some of which we just couldn’t fit all into the program. Dan, a producer for the show and part of the Inside Islam team, collected a series of videos to share with readers today.

More heavy metal bands after the break…

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Inside Islam’s first radio show: Here’s how you can listen and join the conversation

Heavy Metal Islam on Here on Earth (25 Sept 2008)

Today the first Here on Earth radio program for Inside Islam airs at 3 p.m. Central Time. There are several ways you can participate in this exciting initiative.

Update: Podcast of the show posted 10-10-2008

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Mark LeVine and Heavy Metal Islam: The Fight Over What Islam Means

Scholar and professional musician Mark LeVine traveled across the Middle East playing with and studying heavy metal bands in the area after the September 11 attacks in 2001. He was surprised by what he found.

That the possibility of a Muslim heavy-metal scene came as a total surprise to me only underscored how much I still had to learn about Morocco, and the Muslim world more broadly, even after a dozen years studying, traveling, and living in it. If there could be such a thing as a Heavy Metal Islam, I thought, then perhaps the future was far brighter than most observers of the Muslim world imagined less than a year after September 11, 2001 (Source).

Mark with Cafe Mira and Hassan Hakmoun (Flickr)
Mark with Cafe Mira and Hassan Hakmoun (Flickr)

Read more after the break…

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Radio Broadcast (25 Sept 2008): Heavy Metal Islam on Here on Earth

Mark LeVine, author of Heavy Metal Islam and Suroosh Alvi, co-director of Heavy Metal in Baghdad will join Here on Earth: Radio Without Borders on air Thursday, September 25, 2008 at 3:00 p.m. CST. You can listen to the show live on the Ideas Network webstream or check for the podcast later that day.

Heavy Metal and Islam

Watch the blog for posts about Islam and music around the world this week. Also, join the conversation. Leave questions for the guests or Jean, host of Here on Earth, in the comment section for this post. You can suggest topics for the show here as well. Thanks for listening.

Read guest bios after the break…

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Heavy Metal in Baghdad Documentary

Meet Acrassicauda, Iraq’s only heavy metal band.

In anticipation of Here on Earth’s first broadcast for Inside Islam on September 25, here is the trailer for a documentary called Heavy Metal in Baghdad. Acrassicauda, a group of young Iraqis, form the only heavy metal band in the city. The film follows their struggle for freedom to play music and stay alive. The younger generation of Muslims in Iraq and across the Middle East has seen the fastest growth in generations. Politically active and charged with changing the future landscape, bands like Acrassicauda fight for a more open and creative solution to the nation’s challenges.

Heavy Metal in Baghdad Trailer

“If I didn’t play drums as hard as I can, I was going to kill someone.”

Source (Heavy Metal in Baghdad)


  1. Listen to Acrassicauda on MySpace
  2. Read the band’s bio
  3. Visit the band’s blog

Music and Islam

Aukje Dekker

The Here on Earth radio broadcasts for Inside Islam premiere on Thursday, September 25. The topic is heavy metal and Islam. Over the next two weeks, I’ll be posting about music and Islam in general, as well as about the specifics of our first show. You can leave any comments and/or links to articles, lyrics, videos, news, songs you want to share about Islam and music after the break. Thanks for the leads…

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