(Photo: Reuters/David W. Cerny)
Malaysia's government has banned a well-known American heavy metal band from performing a concert in their country, saying some of the band's lyrics could be interpreted as being religiously insensitive and blasphemous.
The Virginia-based, Grammy-nominated heavy metal band "Lamb of God" was initially slated to play in Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur, on September 28, but the country's Communications and Multimedia Ministry refused to grant the band a permit after the Department of Islamic Development publicly complained about the band's lyrics.
Authorities in Malaysia, a Muslim-majority nation, said that the band has previously taken excerpts from the Quran, and therefore allowing the band to play would be an insult to Malaysia's religious and cultural customs. Additionally, the government-led department for Islam argued that the lyrics could confuse Malaysians and lead them astray.
Some of the band's previous album titles have included "Burn the Priest," "New American Gospel," and "Sacrament." The band's 2005 album, entitled "Killadelphia," reportedly began with lyrics taken from the Qu'ran that seem to praise Allah. The lyrics read: "The Most Gracious / Teacher of the Al-Quran / Creator of the human beings / He taught them how to distinguish / The sun and the moon are perfectly calculated […] O humans and jinns, which of your Lord's marvels can you deny?"
Concert promoters Livescape Asia, who initially scheduled Lamb of God as the headliner for the Rockaway Festival, issued a statement on the festival's Facebook page, saying: "As a live music events agency that prides itself in being proudly Malaysian, we at Livescape would also like to state on record that we respect all cultural and religious sensitivities and under no circumstances will we ever consciously put on a show that would upset our fellow Malaysians."
Lamb of God also issued their own statement on their Facebook page, saying the Malaysian government had misunderstood their band and their lyrics.
"It is very evident [and a bit frustrating] that the groups, parties and powers that have taken the most offense to our music and lyrics have themselves only made a passing glance at the content and meanings of those songs," the band said. "We would invite anyone offended by our music to engage in a discussion regarding the true motivations behind our work, especially before publicly slandering us based on assumptions and shallow misinterpretation."
Lamb of God's upcoming tour dates for New Zealand, Australia, and Thailand will go on as planned. The band, hailing from Richmond, Va., has had numerous songs make the U.S. Top Ten charts, and it was nominated for a Grammy in 2007 for its song "Redneck."
Back in 2012, Malaysian authorities canceled the concert of American R&B performer Erykah Badu after a photo of her with the Arabic word for "Allah" written on her back surfaced.