CAIRO, January 28, 2006, (IslamOnline.net) - The Malaysian government favors counseling followers of a satanic black metal cult rather than banning the musical genre, the Star Online reported on Saturday, January 28.
"We will have intensive counseling sessions with the followers, who we believe got hooked without fully understanding what it is all about and the consequences," Datuk Mustafa Abdul Rahman, the director-general of the Islamic Development Department (Jakim), told a press conference on Friday, January 27.
"They are young and easily influenced. If they knew what they would end up doing as followers of the culture, they would not want to be a part of it."
Mustafa said Black Metal was a source of concern for the department, especially that it often led its followers to worship Satan, rebel, kill and incite hatred.
He recalled that that several hundred Black Metal followers had been arrested over the years and given counselling.
However, he was not aware if those counselled had been rearrested for taking part in Black Metal activities again.
The Malaysian official said banning the musical genre was not the right answer to the problem.
"Muslims here co-exist with those of different beliefs and it is not right for us to ask the government to ban Black Metal music as there are others who listen to it. We have to be sensitive."
He asserted that other religious leaders "would also want their followers to do good and listen to good things."
The National Fatwa Council, Malaysia 's highest Islamic authority, on Monday, January 23, banned Muslims from taking part in a heavy metal cult, which plays the blasphemous Black Metal genre.
Council chair Shukor Husin said the cult's practices, in which members stamp on the Noble Qur’an, drink alcohol and freely engage in sex, went against the teachings of Islam and could propel a Muslim out of the religion.
He said authorities plan to enact new laws banning the music style, allowing prosecution of its Muslim followers.
Some 60 percent of Malaysia 's 26 million people are ethnic Malay Muslims, who are subject to Islamic laws as well as the country's secular legal system.
The council's rulings don't affect the ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities, who are mainly Buddhists, Christians and Hindus.
Black metal is another form of hard metal, like death or trash metal, and is often associated with devil worship because of the dark symbols and clothes used by black metal bands.
The genre is known for its satanic or pagan influences and occult imagery.
It emerged in the early 1980s predating the great expansion of heavy metal extreme genres. Its name is a play on "Black Magic".
It roots belong to Norwegian guitarist Řystein Aarseth (1968–1993), who launched a blasphemous and anti-Christian campaign in Norway through songs that glorified Satan.
The music gained notoriety in Malaysia in 2001 after a series of media exposes on young black metal fans, including lurid stories about ritualistic practices such as drinking blood.
Islam prohibits all forms of singing and music that incites debauchery, indecency, or sin.