L.A.’s Band Allah-Las Cancelled Their Show in Rotterdam Because Of A Terror Threat
The first time I heard the moniker Allah-Las, I immediately thought, ‘Do they think they can get away with that?’
We live dangerous times, and it has been the case for a while. Since 2005, since the series of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed as a terrorist with a bomb and published by Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, things have been downhill. In 2010, Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard was murdered by an Islamic fundamentalist, In 2011, Charlie Hebdo’s Paris offices were burned in an apparent arson attack, a day after publishing cartoons on Prophet Mohammed, then, after many other ‘offensive’ publications, several attacks and protests, Charlie Hebdo’s new Paris offices were attacked by armed gunmen, killing 12 cartoonists in 2015. It’s clear that these people are not joking, and they can’t stand to see their religious rules violated by infidels.
So when I heard that a LA band was called Allah-Las, I thought they were either unaware of all these attacks or completely naïve? Sure the Allah-Las don’t draw Mohammed cartoons, they don’t make fun of anybody or any religion, but they probably haven’t paid enough attention to the fact that they have been using the name of the god of the most humorless religion of the century… Using Allah in the moniker of a rock band is probably a bad idea right now, even though they look like the nicest guys around and play the most groovy and gentle music in the world.
On Wednesday night, their gig at Rotterdam was canceled following a threat, and the police are detaining a man who was driving a van with a number of gas tanks. Fortunately the Spanish police had sent a warning as the van had a Spanish license plate, and even though the police can’t be sure there was a link between the van and the threat, last week attack in Barcelona which killed 15 people, makes everyone think it was probably the case.
It could have been another Bataclan but every one is fortunately safe and sound. So far I have zero proof the attack was due to the Allah-Las moniker (after all how was Eagles of Death Metal offensive to Muslims?) but a few newspapers have already made the connection and did find this interview excerpt with the Guardian last year:
‘They chose to use Allah – Arabic for god – because they wanted something “holy sounding”. But they say they never realized some might interpret it as trivializing or mocking their religious beliefs. ’We get emails from Muslims, here in the US and around the world, saying they’re offended, but that absolutely wasn’t our intention,’ says Michaud. ‘We email back and explain why we chose the name and mainly they understand.’
Mainly, but what about all these Islamic fundamentalists who will never accept such a trivialization of their God? Is this a proof of the Allah-Las’s disconnection from the rest of the world? How many examples like the ones above did the band need before been warned? In the same Guardian interview there was also this:
‘In Turkey, a show got pulled because the promoter didn’t feel comfortable. ‘But what’s the alternative?’ asks Siadatian. ‘We’ve had the name so long I don’t think we can change it. That wouldn’t work. We don’t dwell. You know, no regrets.’
The problem is that rational people think they can have a rational discussion with irrational people, but it’s of course impossible. Calling your band Allah Las is not the same thing than calling it Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Judas Priest or Lamb of God. In a reasonable and tolerant world, the Allah-Las should be able to choose whatever moniker they want, without stupid religious fanatics dictating them what they can and cannot do. This should be our world, but I’m afraid it’s not the one we are living in right now.