Eagerly seizing on the stereotype-busting possibilities of “an 18-year-old from Casablanca with spiked hair, or a 20-year-old from Dubai wearing goth makeup,” LeVine would like us to see them as the faces of an emerging Muslim world, potentially a much less monochromatic place than the one represented on TV by the usual “Death to America” brigades. “Heavy Metal Islam” turns the notion of irreconcilable differences between Islam and the West on its head, appealing to the universality of youth culture as “a model for communication and cooperation” in the Internet age. LeVine reckons the likes of Metallica and Slayer provide a brute lingua franca that knows no borders, opening up breathing room in cloistered societies, gradually undermining rigid belief systems — a benign, bottom-up brand of globalization as opposed to the ruthless corporate or state-sponsored kind.Continue NYT book review here
Mark LeVine, the author of the book, is definately one of UCI's coolest and most interesting professors:
The hirsute-headed history professor, author, world musician and activist has stared down bulldozers in protest, worked in Harlem and taken refuge in the shadows of Hamas mosques.
After earning a doctorate from New York University in Middle Eastern Studies, LeVine began to peer at and pen about the Arab world from many different angles. As a guitarist, he has strummed from stages in Damascus, Casablanca and Istanbul. As an author, he's written for the Boston Globe, al-Jazeera International and other media outlets – not to mention several books.
Continue here for OC Register interview
This is all interesting from a political and social perspective; however, I can't help but wonder if it is helping or hurting the Muslim youth. Expressing oneself, connecting with people from other cultures, resisting unjust political systems is all good, but is it leading to a grey (or black) area of ignorance and lack of identity? Is it a struggle towards or away from the soul of Islam? Probably a bit of both...I'm not sure.