Anahita is a 28 year-old Iraqi woman who fronts two black metal bands. She was raised in an Islamic household, though not a strict one. She recounts how she came to reject her parents’ religion to music writer Kim Kelly in a recent article for The Atlantic.
She lost her faith, as so many do, between the pages of a book. “I was reading some scientific facts and how Islam doesn’t make sense at all with the current science, and they use the method of ‘brainwashing’ to convince people about Islam,” she wrote. Her lyrics for Janaza and its sister project, Seeds of Iblis, make clear where she stands now: “Islamic Lies,” “Burn the Pages of Quran,” and “When Islam Brainwashed Mankind” are a few of her more memorable tunes.
Many American secularists went through a similar process. But it was tragedy that fueled her rage towards Islam.
A suicide bomb — “by a Muslim guy of course,” Anahita wrote — killed her parents and her younger brother during the Iraq War, and she said she has since seen religiously motivated violence hurt some of her college friends too. “What keeps the fire burning is that I live every day in the memories of my parents and friends, and every day the people try to threaten me,” she said. “That’s why I am full of hate.” Fittingly, in Arabic, “Janaza,” the name of her band, is a funeral prayer for the dead.
She risks her life by putting this music out, so a high level of secrecy is necessary. It took Kelly a year to get a hold of her, and their interview was conducted via Facebook. Her only other published interview is with the metal site Heathen Harvest. She revealed to H.H. contributor Lysander that she had never even seen a copy of a record she released through a French label, because “the borders won’t let them get inside.”
In addition to her solo project, Janaza, Anahita contributes vocals to the band Seeds of Iblis. The only link I can find to purchase her music is the website of the label that released the Seeds of Iblis EP “Jihad Against Islam,” but it’s currently sold out. Some of the music is on YouTube, however, and I’ve embedded a couple of tracks below. Hopefully a little media attention will help increase the availability of her projects. She seems to have quite a bit to say.
(Thanks to Berenice for the link!)