Report: Malaysia Favors Counseling Black Metal Followers

Malaysia's The Star Online has issued the following report:

It is impossible to get the authorities to ban black metal music even though it deviates from Islamic teachings as the teachings of one religion cannot be imposed on those of other faiths, according to the Islamic Development Department (Jakim).

"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," said director-general Datuk Mustafa Abdul Rahman.

"Other religious leaders would also want their followers to do good and listen to good things.

On Monday, the National Fatwa Council ruled that black metal culture was a deviation from Islamic teachings and those found practising it could be penalised under syariah law.

It said black metal culture was against syariat (Islamic principles) and could turn its followers into murtad (apostates).

Mustafa said black metal music was a source of concern for the department, noting that while it was just a genre of music, the culture often led its followers to worship Satan, rebel, kill and incite hatred.

Jakim, he added, believed that an effective way to deal with those practising the culture would be to educate them on its dangers and counsel them.

"We will have intensive counselling sessions with the followers, who we believe got hooked without fully understanding what it is all about and the consequences," he told a press conference yesterday.

"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 added 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.

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