Just when you think there are no new surprises coming out of the underground, something like the Taqwacore movement arrives, a fictional Islamic punk rock subculture that has become a REAL Islamic punk rock movement. Melissa Henderson writes at Brand X:
Originally imagined as a fictional world of living on the edge, Muslim punk rockers in Michael Muhammad Knight’s 2003 novel, “The Taqwacores”, Taqwacore has since evolved into an honest-to-goodness, real-life, fight-the-power scene, replete with young and charismatic activists, artists and Punk the only appropriate soundtrack to any decent rebellion.
Groups like the Chicago doom-crust band Al-Thawra and Boston-based ska-punkers the Kominas are rapidly gaining attention, as evidenced by August’s Los Angeles Times feature. Omar Majeed’s documentary about the subculture, Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam, made Spin magazine’s Best Music Documentary list of 2009, and “The Taqwacores”, Eyad Zahra’s feature film adaptation of the novel, premiered this week as an official competitor at the Sundance Film Festival. (For more on that, check out the post at the LA Times 24 Frames blog).
Knight, a Rochester, N.Y., native who converted to Islam in his teens and then struggled with an inability to reconcile his faith with his inner Punk, coined the book’s title from the Arabic word “Taqwa,” which means piety or God-fearing, and hardcore, a subgenre of late-70s punk rock. The novel, which he handed out for free in parking lots before finding a publisher in 2004, resonated so strongly with young Muslims dissatisfied with traditionalists in their own communities and cliches foisted on them by outsiders that it became something of a manifesto.
READ MORE: The rise of Taqwacore: from parking lots to Park City (Brand X)