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Spellemannprisen Nominates Taake Despite Anti Islam Statements

According to the Guardian, Spellemannprisen, a Norway’s award show equivalent to the Grammys, has nominated Taake as one of the six candidates in the metal category. I have never heard of this band, and what’s wrong with this picture you may ask…. 

The problem is that Taake writes songs with openly anti-Islamic lyrics. Al Arabiya reports that the song ‘Orkan’ features the line ‘To hell with Muhammad and the Mohammedans’ and their ‘unforgivable customs’.  

Despite complaints, the Spellemann Award committee board said they will not retract the nomination and declared that ‘we enjoy full freedom of expression in Norway and a Spellemann jury is not going to censor content in any way’. 

Frontman Høst declared that the band is anti-organized religion in general, not targeting Muslims in particular: ‘Our view, in the name of freedom of expression, is that it is shameful to adhere to Christianity or Islam’, and adding that ‘Taake has never been a political band, and we do not encourage either violence or racism.’ 

The band is not foreign to controversy: in 2007 Høst had already appeared on stage with a swastika on his chest during a concert in Germany,which led to the cancellation of the band’s European tour and outrage among many heavy metal fans across Germany.

 I don’t know much about the band and what is really going onin this guy’s head, but what’s new here? Aren’t Slayer’s lyrics for examplevery anti-Christian? And wasn’t Sid Vicious wearing a swastika shirt? Metal and Punk bands have always looked for provocation and claimed freedom of expression. 

Of course criticizing Islam may cost you your life or a lot of trouble, justl ook at what happened to Theo Van Gogh, Salman Rushdie or the Danish guy who drew these Muhammad cartoons!  And it is interesting to see that we only hear about Taake when it is bashing Islam where as it has probably been bashing Christianity way more. Anyway, Norway is brave to stand up behind its decision.

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