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Monday, 13 August, 2001, 20:07 GMT 21:07 UK
Herbal cure for Malaysian metal fans
CD vendor in Kuala Lumpur
Prime Minister Mahathir wants to curb foreign music
A state in Malaysia says it will give herbal medicine to 150 teenage rock fans accused of belonging to a Satanic cult.

Fadzil Hanafi, an official from the northern Kedah state told Reuters news agency: "This herb is to stimulate the brain so that students can concentrate on their studies."

In July, Malaysia announced that in order to curb the spread of what it called the "Black Metal" cult, foreign groups would have to submit videotapes of their concerts to the government before being allowed to perform in the country.

Malaysia's Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, has criticised both rap and heavy metal music for corrupting the morals of Malaysia's population.

State radio has also been ordered to play less heavy metal music.

Mr Hanafi told the Associated Press that the state has detained about 700 teenagers, mostly students, since the clampdown started.

"Black Metal" members are accused of sacrificing animals, drinking blood, smoking cannabis and desecrating religious texts, such as the Koran.

Herbal stimulants

The authorities say they use heavy metal music to attract new recruits.

Some Kedah school officials have already started strip-searching students to check for tattoos, crucifixes worn upside-down or other alleged signs of belonging to the "Black Metal" cult.

The Scorpions
The Scorpions were vetted before being allowed to play in Malaysia

Cult members have also been offered counselling and rehabilitation.

The herbal medicine has been developed by a private company to treat drug addicts and Mr Fadzil said the unnamed drug had been "found to be effective in stimulating their thinking".

He said it would be given to pupils at 15 schools most affected by the cult.

See also:

04 Aug 01 | Asia-Pacific
Malaysia curbs heavy metal music
19 Feb 01 | Asia-Pacific
Mahathir raps rap
20 May 99 | Asia-Pacific
Islamic pop storms Malaysia
12 Jul 99 | Entertainment
Malaysia bans Austin Powers
05 Oct 00 | Asia-Pacific
Malaysia bans game arcades
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