Islamophobia is still deeply embedded in Australia, but a rising local Muslim band called Hazeen are calling out such prejudice by performing as “Muslim zombies” and satirising the concept of extremism with their unique brand of “death metal jihad”.
Formed in March this year, Hazeen is comprised of drummer Can Yalcinkaya and 40-year-old vocalist/guitarist Safdar Ahmed. Speaking with New Matilda, Ahmed says the duo are trying to break down extreme metal’s association with “disaffected middle class white kids, conservative white kids”.
The band are doing just that be playing with extreme metal’s themes and imagery to point out just how ridiculous some people’s views of Muslims really are. By performing as zombies, they not only become metal overlords but representations of what they see some people’s ideas of Muslims to be.
“It’s a way of taking the whole discourse of radicalisation and the fear of terrorism and so on, and exaggerating it to the point where you reveal its implicit absurdity,” Ahmed says. “So you’re just taking it one step further to the point where everyone can see it’s not based on legitimate fears, because it’s not.”
On Hazeen’s website, the band say, “This is no mere intellectual exercise but stems from a deep well of frustration about the incessant stereotyping, racialisation and subsequent dehumanisation of Muslims in Australian and global political discourses over many years.”
“I think it’s more important to respond creatively to Islamophobia and racism – or as important – as it is to respond with logic and reason,” says Ahmed. “At the end of the day racism isn’t logical and it isn’t reasonable, so some of those defences don’t even work.”
Hazeen have a strongly political song called Border Hate and another titled Beneath The Black Crescent Moon, which includes the lyrics, “Tightening the noose, on Western culture, strengthening our art for the coming death / Blackening the crypts of the shining city, a secular exhale is your final breath.”
The duo played their first-ever gig earlier this year in an abandoned theme-park in Sydney’s west. “It was a dream come true really, it was our high school dreams all come true,” Ahmed says.
Catch a snippet of Hazeen performing Beneath The Black Crescent Moon live, below.
Watch: Hazeen – Under The Black Crescent Moon Snippet