OSLO - The nomination of a hard metal band, which plays songs lampooning Muslims and their Prophet, for a major music award in Norway is sparking a heated controversy in the country, reviving grieving memories of last year's massacre by a right-wing extremist, the World Bulletin reported.
I'd imagine Taake aren't particularly proud of these lyrics after Utoya, Didrik Soderlind, of the Norwegian Humanist Association, said referring to the killing of 69 people at a summer camp by Anders Behring Breivik.
Taake, a black metal band, was nominated for the Spellemann Prize in the Best Metal Album category on its latest album, Noregs Vaapen.
The album includes a song, which disparage Muslims and their Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him).
In the song titled Orkan (Hurricane'), the band sings To hell with Muhammad and the Mohammedans and their unforgivable customs.
It ends with the line: Norway will soon awaken.
Marte Thorsby, chairman of the prize committee's board, believes that the song is part of the freedom of expression in Norway.
We enjoy full freedom of expression in Norway and a Spellemann jury is not going to censor content in any way, Thorsby told Aftenposten.
But Soderlind, of the Norwegian Humanist Association, says that the song went too far in criticizing Muslims.
He said the lyrics were presumably written prior to last summer's terror attacks in Norway, and in the aftermath of July 22nd they're completely over the edge.
A right-wing extremist, Anders Behring Breivik, killed at least 76 people in twin attacks on a government building a youth training camp in Oslo last year.
The attacker said that his assault was a self-styled mission to save European Christendom from Islam.
He said that his actions aimed to "change Norwegian society" against a "Muslim invasion" of Europe.
Taake spokesman Ãrjan Stedjeberg argues that their intention was to criticize religion in general and not particularly Islam.
Our view, in the name of freedom of expression, is that it is shameful to adhere to Christianity or Islam, he said in a written response.
Incidentally, Christianity is mentioned in the same lyrics, but that doesn't seem to have been given any emphasis.
Taake has never been a political band, and we do not encourage either violence or racism.
This was not the first case for Taake to stir uproar in Europe.
In 2007, Stedjeberg appeared onstage with a swastika painted on his chest in Essen, Germany, where any use of the former Nazi symbol is strictly prohibited.
In its written response to the case, the band denied any intention to provoke the audience.
Taake is not a political Nazi band, etc. We certainly didn't expect the current threat reactions, as everyone should know by now that our whole concept is built upon provocation and anything evil- and death-related.
The Spellemann Prize winners will be announced at a ceremony on January 14th.Norway is home to some 100,000 Muslims, out of a total population of nearly five million people.