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Heavy Metal Islam: Rock, Resistance, and the Struggle for the Soul of Islam Paperback – July 8, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. With a jolting arrangement of images and voices, LeVine powerfully upends received notions about the Middle East by exploring one of the area's least-known subcultures. Interviewing and jamming with musicians from Morocco to Pakistan—including rappers and trip-hop artists as well as metalheads—LeVine (Why They Don't Hate Us) presents Muslims, Christians and Jews who, in the face of corruption, repression and violence, use their music to speak truth to power and carve out a space for individual expression and a new form of community. The degree of independence the musicians enjoy varies widely—from Israeli band Orphaned Land who are free of restrictions (and widely admired in the Arab metal world) to Egyptian metalheads who fear arrest and possible torture for sporting long hair. Each artist in this book struggles, on some level, for cultural and political reform, and LeVine argues that if these musicians could find a way to cooperate with progressive religious activists and the working class, they could trigger a revolution. This is a tall order, but the author's warm and intelligent examination of a reality few in the West have experienced suggests it may yet be possible. (July 15)
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From School Library Journal

Adult/High School—In the 1970s, heavy metal acts like Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden created dark, violent music that was as much political and social protest as it was adrenaline-laced sound energizing the mosh pit. LeVine looks at the current heavy metal, punk, and hip-hop scenes of the Middle East in this way, presenting the backgrounds of each and exploring the social import of their messages. With lyrics crying for political and social change, this music carries the screams of angry youth, but angry youth who, for the most part, still regard themselves as devout Muslims. Each chapter examines a different nation and its music scene. Although it's not surprising that the most active centers are the more Westernized nations like Morocco and Israel, the most fascinating sections are those that cover places like Iran, where the music is not just looked at with suspicion, but often considered illegal. Many of the musicians are in their late teens and early 20s. Unfortunately, LeVine does a poor job of describing the music itself, throwing out terms like "grindcore" and "black metal" without defining them. Readers already knowledgeable about different forms of heavy metal won't have a problem with this, but those coming from the outside might find all the undefined labels a little confusing. LeVine does, however, provide a useful list of Web sites that provide samples of the music; a companion audio CD is sold separately. It becomes obvious that the author sees these musicians as a force for positive change. Although a journalistic approach might make this work more convincing, it's still a fascinating read about a unique subculture.—Matthew L. Moffett, Pohick Regional Library, Burke, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Uncorrected Proof edition (July 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307353397
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307353399
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #843,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Abdessaid Cherkaoui

Praticien spécialiste du droit d'auteur : chargé, entre autres attributions, du développement et de la promotion du droit d'auteur ; de faire respecter la législation sur la propriété littéraire et artistique par une activité plus éducative que répressive (par la sensibilisation, la négociation et l'établissement de contrats et licences); de recevoir les déclarations, enregistrements et dépôts des œuvres en vue de leur protection ; d'assurer la meilleure protection possible de leurs droits aux créateurs, artistes et autres titulaires des droits ; de prendre les mesures nécessaires destinées à la réparation des préjudices subis ; de constater les infractions à la loi et dresser les procès-verbaux (P V) en matière de reproduction illicite, contrefaçon, piraterie,concurrence déloyale ; litige ou contentieux ;

Activités Professionnelles et Domaines d'Intervention :

Professionnel des Droits de Propriété Intellectuelle : chargé d'exercer, dans le cadre de la loi pertinente en la matière, notamment dans les domaines : des oeuvres des beaux arts, y compris les dessins, les peintures, les gravures, lithographies, les impressions sur cuir,etc. ; des œuvres musicales avec ou sans paroles ; des œuvres du théâtre dramatiques et dramatico-musicales ; des œuvres chorégraphiques et pantomimes ; des œuvres audio-visuelles y compris les œuvres cinématographiques et le vidéogramme ; des œuvres d'architectures ; des œuvres des arts appliqués, des œuvres photographiques, des dessins des créations de l'industrie de l'habillement ; des illustrations, des cartes géographiques, des plans, des croquis et des œuvres tridimensionnelles relative à la géographie, la topographie, l'architecture ou la science ; des programmes d'ordinateur ; des conférences, allocutions, sermons, plaidoiries et autres œuvres faites de mots ou exprimés oralement ; des modèles et dessins industriels ; de l'édition du livre, du multimédia ; de la radiodiffusion ; de la production phonographique, télévisuelle, cinématographique, photographique, etc.,

Expert judiciaire de la propriété intellectuelle.
1978 : Nomination, et prestation de serment, au titre d'expert de la propriété littéraire et artistique, assermenté et agrée près la Cour d'Appel de Casablanca (unique expert au Maroc, et premier expert dans le monde arabe, officiellement agréé en la matière) - Dossier n° 17.704 du 22 novembre 1978.

Office de médiateur assermenté : chargé par les instances compétentes de servir d'intermédiaire entre différentes parties et de faciliter des accords entre elles.

Expérience en matière de procédures d'expertise et d'arbitrage :
Règlement avec succès, par voie de médiation, d'un grand nombre de litiges commerciaux en matière de propriété intellectuelle/droits d'auteur, droits voisins, modèles et dessins ; contribution également au règlement, dans le cadre d'arbitrage, des différends touchant d'autres domaines de droits industriels et électroniques (brevets, marques, logiciels et noms de domaine).

Bons offices offerts en 1996 lors de la guerre commerciale (sur la propriété intellectuelle), entre la Chine et les Etats-Unis d'Amérique.

Consultant juridique auprès des institutions nationales, arabes, islamiques et internationales.

Consultant pour avocats, journalistes, médias, entreprises de spectacles...

Aide et assistance juridique et technique aux groupements professionnels des auteurs, artistes, éditeurs, producteurs, industriels, créateurs, inventeurs, etc.

Expert-conseil en commerce juridique des droits d'auteur économiques, membre du "groupe sélectif de décideurs et professionnels au Maroc", (Etats-Unis d'Amérique / USIS 1998).

2006 : Arbitre et Médiateur International :
Membre du Centre d'Arbitrage et de Médiation de l'Organisation Mondiale de la Propriété Intellectuelle (OMPI/WIPO).

Encadrement de travaux de recherche menés en la matière, notamment par des universitaires.

Participation aux réunions, colloques et séminaires des diverses Organisations internationales (OMPI / WIPO ; UNESCO ; ALECSO ; INTERGU ;).

Chercheur spécialisé dans le domaine de la propriété intellectuelle : activité consacrée à la recherche, à la promotion de la création intellectuelle et à l'étude des grands systèmes contemporains du droit d'auteur (germano-latin, anglo-saxon), à l'étude des problèmes qui se posent sur le plan mondial ; recherches de solutions aux problèmes de la piraterie, etc.

Auteur de plusieurs articles, déclarations, interviews, études et ouvrages de référence.

Publications de presse :

Depuis 1973 :
- Publication d'articles de presse
- Déclarations aux agences de presse (MAP ; Reuter ...)
- Interviews accordés aux médias (RTM / Fès - Tanger - Rabat / Sharq Al Awsat..)
- Présentation/Publication d'études et lettres spécialement réalisées - Voir : ASBU ; OMC / WTO ; ALECSO ; ISESCO ; UNESCO ; M. le Président des USA ; M. le Président Clinton ; M. le Président Arafat ; S.M. Hassan II ; S.M. Mohammed VI ; Ligue des Etats arabes ; Congrès des Etats-Unis ...

Publications libraires :

Auteur d'une encyclopédie inédite en arabe : fruit de quatre décennies d'études et de recherches pionnières en la matière (en cours de traduction).

1995 : Publication d'un ouvrage en arabe (de 520 pages) sur les droits de propriété intellectuelle (fondement de la civilisation).

1999 et 2000 : Publication de trois livres bilingues (de 200 pages chacun) sur « la propriété intellectuelle dans le contexte de la mondialisation ».

2005 : Publication d'un livre en français de 341 pages consacré à l'étude des « nouveaux aspects de la propriété intellectuelle » (ADPIC/TRIPs) en général, et à celle du nouveau régime du droit d'auteur (tel qu'il en ressort des nouvelles lois adoptées notamment par les pays arabes dont le Maroc, pris comme exemple dans cette étude).

2008 : Publication de deux œuvres de référence en arabe qui portent sur les nouveaux droits d'auteur/Copyright.

Tous ces ouvrages sont référencés dans plusieurs bibliothèques et Universités : « Library of Congress Online Catalog » ; Universités Harvard, Chicago ; Indiana...Universités et bibliothèques des pays arabes.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By rudiger on November 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
Frankly I am baffled by the reviewers who described this book as dry, academic, and/or boring. To them I say, You haven't read much academic writing lately. Readers would be hard-pressed to find publications of any university press which match this title for sheer readability. LeVine does not inject much social theory into this book, nor does he write for a primarily academic audience.

To be sure, "HEAVY METAL ISLAM" is an imperfect text with its share of errors. (My personal favorite: the author thinks the French word for dockworkers--"dockers"--is actually a reference to the preppie American clothing line of the same name, and thus misinterprets a Moroccan poster to signify common cause between rockers and preppies. D'oh!) But assuming you have at least a high school education and care about topics beyond whether Cliff Burton or Jason Newstead was the best Metallica bassist, you may find that this book provides engaging food for thought despite such passing mistakes.

If there's a major flaw to "HEAVY METAL ISLAM," it has to do with its title and framing which are just a tad misleading. LeVine's analysis in fact extends to various Middle Eastern musicians (rappers, hip-hop artists, rockers and others) who have little or no connection to heavy metal. But I suspect the author made metal the book's titular focus for two reasons: one, he's clearly an aficionado of the genre, and two, he wanted to amp up the paradoxical, unexpected nature of his subject matter for potential readers ("Metalheads in the Middle East? Who knew?"). I used the same gimmick in titling this review.

And LeVine is fully aware that the cultural scene he documents in this book remains marginal, both in its popular appeal and its political significance.
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Dario M. Zagar on September 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
While the concept of the book, namely the rarely discussed role of musical counterculture in the middle East, certainly has potential, its execution is a disaster. Mark LeVine's writing has all of the excitement of an academic dissertation, with none of the depth or research behind it. He clearly knows little or nothing about heavy metal, and also clearly did little or no immersion into the music to learn about it. (The editor also did no fact checking--can't "high brow" books about a "low brow" topic at least have someone acquainted with the topic read it at some point prior to publication?)

Just about every mention about the actual music or bands involved is riddled with errors that a simple Google search would have corrected. Just a few: mentioning a Rage Against the Machine song as being called "F*** you, I won't do what you tell me", describing a poster of the "band" "Cowboys From Hell," and worst of all, discussing Iron Maiden's famous mascot, "Freddy". Come on, people--that is just sloppy!

Despite all of that, the biggest problem remains that LeVine is such an undistinguished writer that "Heavy Metal Islam" is a stultifyingly boring read. I couldn't help but imagine what the book would have been like by a compelling author (such as David Hadju, whose recent "Ten Cent Plague" makes the world of 1950's anti-comic book hysteria pop with life) who could have drawn out the passion and frustration in these people's stories. While it suffers from some of the same repetition as this book, the documentary "Heavy Metal in Baghdad" is a much more evocative depiction of the role of heavy metal in the lives of a group of young Iraqis struggling to fulfill their musical ambitions, while trying simply to survive.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Berglund Center for Internet Studies on April 18, 2011
Format: Paperback
This fine book begins with an introductory chapter on the relationships between rock and resistance in Muslim youth subcultures. Following this introduction are six country-specific chapters which each provide an overview of politics and resistance music, including: Morocco, Egypt, Israel/Palestine, Lebanon, Iran and Pakistan. In each of these chapters, the unique character of local heavy metal and Islamic cultures are analyzed, along with an overview of how local governments have responded to the challenges these oppositional movements pose. For example, the chapter on Morocco states that "fourteen heavy-metal musicians and fans were arrested in February 2003, tried, and convicted of the absurd crime of being 'Satanists who recruited for an international cult of devil-worship,' and of 'shaking the foundations of Islam,' 'infringing upon public morals,' 'undermining the faith of a Muslim,' and 'attempting to convert a Muslim to another faith'" Le Vine observes that "Similar raids have occurred against heavy-metal-listening 'devil worshippers' in Lebanon, Egypt and Iran." An epilogue concludes the book, by taking a look at the future of Islamic societies where youths turn to "heavy metal and hip hop" to "cope with the stress produced by lives spent, at least on the surface, on the margins of their societies."

For a full review see Interface Volume 9 Issue 5.
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Interesting book covering a topic that's not really covered, and that is the rock and rap subculture in predominately Muslim Middle East and North African (MENA) countries. The author speaks about six languages (including Arabic and Hebrew) so he gets around pretty well. One item he mentioned that I found interesting is that the Arabic spoken in Morocco is very different from the Arabic spoken in other parts of MENA, so much so that Arabic speakers in Syria (for example) couldn't understand the Arabic spoken in Morocco (and vise versa). Moroccan Arabic has a lot of Berber and other non-Arabic (such as French and Spanish) words embedded in the language. The author writes about his own personal experiences traveling in various MENA countries. He's particular to rock music because he's a rock guitarist himself, and has played with various bands located in the countries he writes about. His book is a sociology book about a subculture existing in MENA, and the social problems and tensions that he's observed (especially concerning rockers and rappers in those countries he visited). If you want to read about the rock and rap subculture in these countries, then this book is probably a pretty good book to read. He didn't really write much about the various terrorist organizations operating in MENA (organizations such as the Sunni terrorist organization Muslim Brotherhood which had ties to Nazi Germany back in the 1930s and 1940s and which has supported or spawned other terrorist groups such as Hamas, Al Queda, and ISIS).Read more ›
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