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A blog about all things cool and nerdy.

The punk rock ethos is very near and dear to my heart. I’ve always been drawn to people with the DIY mentality, be they authors or musicians or artists or filmmakers. So when a friend shared an article with me about an emerging group of young Muslim and Hindu punk rock bands in America, I was immediately interested. The San Francisco Chronicle does a much better job reporting on the new scene than I could, so go read the article and then come back. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Back? Okay good.

After reading the article, I was compelled to delve further into the world of taqwacore music. The two films mentioned in the article are a documentary following The Kominas (the article talked about them at the beginning of the article) and an adaptation of Michael Muhammad Knight’s book that helped kick start the movement.

The documentary, called Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam, follows Knight and The Kominas as they tour the US. Here’s the official description from the doc’s site (check out the site for the film’s trailer):

When he was 17, Michael Knight left his mother’s home in Rochester to study Islam at a Pakistani madrassa. It was his first act of rebellion – against his abusive, schizophrenic, white-supremacist father. Years later, burned out on the demands of religious dogma, Mike rebelled once more – by penning a Muslim Punk manifesto called The Taqwacores. His work of fiction struck a chord with young Muslims around the world and before long, real-life Taqwacore bands were creating a scene. This film follows Michael and his band of Muslim punks as they journey across the U.S. and Pakistan, transforming their worlds, their religion and themselves through the spirit of Taqwacore.

The second film is an adaptation of Knight’s book The Taqwacore, which helped inspire many of the groups in the Taqwacore scene. The synopsis from the film’s official site says:

Yusef , a first-generation Pakistani engineering student, moves off-campus with a group of Muslim punks in Buffalo, New York.   His new “un-orthodox” housemates soon introduce him to Taqwacore– a hardcore, Muslim punk rock scene that only exists out west.
As the seasons change, Taqwacore influences the house more and more.   Ultimately, Yusef is influenced by Taqwacore too, as he begins to challenge his own faith and ideologies.

The Taqwacores deals with the complexities of being young and Muslim in modern-day America.

Check out the trailer below:

I don’t know how either of these films turned out. The trailers and subject matter are enough to get me to see them, but I would love to hear thoughts or impressions from anyone who caught a screening.

Stay tuned for Part 2: In Which I Attempt My First Album Review!


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