Jihad (song)

Song by Slayer
from the album Christ Illusion
ReleasedAugust 8, 2006
GenreThrash metal
Songwriter(s)Jeff Hanneman
Tom Araya
Mohammed Atta
Producer(s)Josh Abraham

"Jihad" is a song by the American thrash metal band Slayer which appears on the band's 2006 studio album Christ Illusion. The song portrays the imagined viewpoint of a terrorist who has participated in the September 11, 2001 attacks, concluding with spoken lyrics taken from words left behind by Mohamed Atta; Atta was named by the FBI as the "head suicide terrorist" of the first plane to crash into the World Trade Center. "Jihad" was primarily written by guitarist Jeff Hanneman; the lyrics were co-authored with vocalist Tom Araya.

"Jihad" received a mixed reception in the music press, and reviews generally focused on the lyrics' controversial subject matter. The song drew comparisons to Slayer's 1986 track "Angel of Death"—also penned by Hanneman—which similarly caused outrage at the time of its release.

Joseph Dias of the Mumbai Christian group "Catholic Secular Forum" expressed concern over "Jihad"'s lyrics, and contributed to Christ Illusion's recall by EMI India, who to date have no plans for a reissue in that country. ABC-TV's Broadcast Standards and Practices Department censored the song during Slayer's first US network television appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on January 19, 2007. Only the opening minute was broadcast over the show's credits, thus omitting 40% of the lyrics.


Mohamed Atta, who left behind a "motivational" letter following the September 11, 2001 attacks. An excerpt of these words was later used in a spoken text format for "Jihad"'s climax.[1]

Primarily written by guitarist Jeff Hanneman, "Jihad" features lyrical contributions by vocalist Tom Araya.[2] Both Hanneman and Araya had previously written about controversial lyrical matter in past Slayer tracks; while Hanneman had written songs like "Angel of Death" and "SS-3" which explored the atrocities committed by Nazi figures such as Auschwitz concentration camp physician Josef Mengele and Third Reich henchman Reinhard Heydrich, Araya had delved into the lives of serial killers such as Jeffrey Dahmer and Ed Gein in the tracks "213" and "Dead Skin Mask" respectively. "Jihad" is written from the perspective of a 9/11 terrorist, and imagines the thoughts that "the enemy" might have.[1][3] The climax of the song features spoken text taken from a motivational letter left behind by Mohamed Atta,[1] who was named by the FBI as the head suicide terrorist of American Airlines Flight 11, the first plane to crash into the World Trade Center in the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Guitarist Kerry King has been outspoken in his defense of "Jihad", and has claimed that the song has the "coolest angle" on Christ Illusion.[1] "These new songs aren't political at all," King states, "'Jihad', 'Eyes of the Insane'—it's what's spewing out at us from the TV."[4] He further clarified that the band was not attempting to promote the terrorists' perspective of the war, nor their ideological beliefs, although he expected others to assume Slayer was doing so.[1] They did not wish to dwell on the topic "because every band on the planet already has" and "came from a certain perspective", so felt they had to present an alternative viewpoint.[1] "We're Slayer, we have to be different" was King's assertion.[1]

American singer/songwriter Steve Earle attempted a similar concept in penning "John Walker's Blues" (from the 2002 album Jerusalem), written from the perspective of the Washington-born John Walker Lindh, a Taliban member captured during the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan.[1][5] Earle was criticised for this track; King anticipated a comparable reaction to "Jihad":[1][5] "People make an assumption before they (read) the lyrics. It's definitely not only human nature, it's very American-natured."[5]

Other Languages
français: Jihad (chanson)
português: Jihad (canção)