Punk Islam Rocks!

I don't know if any of you is familiar with Michael Muhammad Knight 's Book, the Taqwacores , but it is a book I have been reading for a while, and it's really interesting. It envisions an America where Punk Islam exists, where Niqabi girls sing " I wanna fuck you like an animal" and lead friday prayers, and people do the call for prayer using an electric guitar and young muslims envisoning crashing CAIR and ISNA conventions and ruining them for all of the fundies that are running those places. Needless to say the book is funny and amusing as hell, and it is reportedly the inspiration for Amina Wadud to be the first female tolead a coed friday prayer. It was also the reason why – in the form of life imitating art- islamic punk bands came into fruition, also inspired by that book. I heard one of their songs, called "Mohamed was a Punk Rocker". An Inspired effort to say the least (you can hear it as the background music to this video).

My friend Kim- who introduced me to the book- is doing a piece on them for newsweek and he already wrote a post on them on his blog. Check it out here! 

19 Comments on Punk Islam Rocks!

  1. John Cunningham
    April 23, 2007 at 12:53 pm

    Now if they could just not make themselves look like a bunch of two year olds that have to go to the bathroom. I assure you boys, if it falls off, you’ll be the first to know.

    Reply
  2. Sam2
    April 23, 2007 at 2:47 pm

    I was actually worried about bringing it with me to Cairo…I wonder what would happen if it was ever translated and published in Rose El Youssef or Al Ahram…now that’s an interesting idea, isn’t it?

    Reply
  3. BOB
    April 23, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    their music sucks.

    Reply
  4. bob
    April 23, 2007 at 4:45 pm

    their music sucks…

    Reply
  5. tommy
    April 23, 2007 at 5:59 pm

    Funny.

    Reply
  6. brooklynjon
    April 23, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    Well, Talking Heads it’s not. But it’s a start.

    Reply
  7. Kurt (Childe Roland)
    April 23, 2007 at 10:27 pm

    @ Drima: Yeah, I don’t really get the Hezbollah love that emanates from progressive Muslims and even non-Muslims. I saw a picture of a Lebanese Christian girl in Beirut wearing hip-huggers, a belly shirt, heels, and a “tramp stamp” tattoo at the top of her ass-crack. And she had a Hezbollah flag draped around her shoulders. Insane.

    Reply
  8. Stacy
    April 27, 2007 at 2:09 am

    Those are some confused M Fers! Nice Hezb’ Allah Shirt dickwad. They would slit your punk ass throat, dummy. Plus the music does suck, take it from an old real American Punk. I do have to admit however that it is somewhat encouraging. I mean it’s better than dirty night shirts and mind-numbing calls to prayer.

    Reply
  9. brooklynjon
    April 27, 2007 at 4:20 am

    Stacy,

    I’m suddenly having an image of a prayer-mosh pit.
    I wonder if they do an Islamic version of the Dead Kennedys “Moral Majority”

    Reply
  10. kim
    May 20, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    dear y’all. i am the one who brought this story. and certainly do relenquish in your comments!!! : Anways~ two quick clarifications~
    *the hezbollah t-shirt worn by basim is an actual hezbollah militants’ t-shirt from this past isrealo-lebanese> The very t-shirt which has caused all this hurl- was worn by basim during a concert with an isreali punk band in the US. The bands had never met prior to that event-and from it came some positive exchange.The Isreali band covered the Muslim Punk band’s song- Suicide the Gap. i donno guys_ after all they’re punks!.
    Oh i also wanted to bring to the music comments, that Basim and his band, The Kominas, a “Punkistani” american band, has never met Koroush- the artist who recorded the segment in the slide show. They are connected only by the fact that they both read Mike’s book The Taqwacores or by having met me.

    Reply
  11. kim
    May 20, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    dear y’all. i am the one who brought this story. and certainly do relenquish in your comments!!! : Anways~ two quick clarifications~
    *the hezbollah t-shirt worn by basim is an actual hezbollah militants’ t-shirt from this past isrealo-lebanese> The very t-shirt which has caused all this hurl- was worn by basim during a concert with an isreali punk band in the US. The bands had never met prior to that event-and from it came some positive exchange.The Isreali band covered the Muslim Punk band’s song- Suicide the Gap. i donno guys_ after all they’re punks!.
    Oh i also wanted to bring to the music comments, that Basim and his band, The Kominas, a “Punkistani” american band, has never met Koroush- the artist who recorded the segment in the slide show. They are NOT connected only by the fact that they both read Mike’s book The Taqwacores or by having met me.

    Reply
  12. omar
    June 18, 2007 at 2:01 am

    this is not islam this is joiking …this man is not muslim ..listen sammi yusuf (www.sammiyusuf.com) and u will know what is islam

    Reply
  13. omar adel
    August 31, 2007 at 5:37 am

    there is no such thing as punk islam dis is not islam at all

    Reply
  14. punkisdead
    March 7, 2008 at 11:07 pm

    ..Taqwaqore is middle class white mans wet dream..no muslim or for that matter. punk see themselves in that way..

    ‘in the form of life imitating art- islamic punk bands came into fruition, also inspired by that book.’

    my ass..one shit band of uncle toms doing the white mans dirty work for him does not constitute a movement..Knight is what afrika bambatta called malcolm mclaren….a `culture vulture’.

    when newsnight gives this bunch of nobodies coverage,it just shows theirs some kind of white man agenda to create what is called fitna inthe community….muslims kids are fortunately not that dumb!They ar just embarrasing….at least hip hop islam sounds good and somehow naturual..

    For the record,There r are actually thousands of muslim punk kids in bands across the world,in fact death metal black metal…etc,hugh in south east asia….These kids idenity as muslims is seperatefrom their identity as punks/metal heads etc…if you combine both you crap the roll on both sides…

    I have been involved in punk rock for 15 years plus..and bought up a muslim..but taqwaqore is crap both onthe punk level,the musical level and especially on the cultural/muslim level…

    Reply
  15. Jeannie
    October 27, 2008 at 7:38 am

    What is “muslim punk” anyway?? I think part of the point of ‘Taqwacores’ is that Islam is not owned by Middle Eastern culture. It is also not owned by Sunni fundamentalist ideology. Also, there are muslims who struggle on the edge caught between cultures. Middle class western white muslims do exist & have as much right to their identity & culture as other muslims & in fact make up a part of the ummah, like it or not. The author was white, western & was writing from what he knew, most probably, not as some “fitna agenda,” to offend anyone’s frail sensibilities as to who & what “is Islam,” rather just as an expression of trying to defracture his own identity. Maybe his book had nothing to do about Islam to you, but there are those young disenfranchised middle-of-America converts stuck out here with nothing & nobody who find his book to be disturbingly relevant when trying to pull together two ends without losing their religion altogether. The fact is there are & have been muslims making punk music & muslims who have been key players in creating punk culture. If you are creating real art it is from what you know & it encompasses everything that you are, otherwise it is just lame shite in the first place. Who ever heard of compartmentalizing art? Oh, I write, but being muslim is totally seperate.. (!?) If any form of art is genuine, who you are will come through, including something as huge as being a devout muslim. Forcing it together on purpose is contrived (but perhaps fun), but seperating them is unrealistic. I also don’t get the whole Sami Yusef represents Islam but there is no such thing as punk Islam. And Cat Stevens? Please, just stop there. Islam IS punk in a sense, because punk is creative rebellion against oppression at its best. Hip hop, too. Jesus & Mohammad (peace upon them both) were totally revolutionary & rebellious for their time & culture. Also notice, there is some really decent muslim punk & hip hop out there. If you’re into nasheeds & think all instruments are harem, go for it. I’ve heard some really punk rock nasheeds, too. Just don’t tell me I have to listen to Sami Yusef to be a true muslim. He can’t do the call to prayer anywhere near as amazingly as the Kominas. We can’t all listen to the same music & all enjoy it. Just because I don’t want to listen to easy-listening Sami & prefer some hardcore doesn’t mean I am any less devout, insha’allah.

    Reply
  16. Justin manchester
    August 31, 2011 at 7:05 am

    This is what happens when the punk world is given Internet access, just ridiculous non-sense to shock and not only devalue your “faith” but also good music.
    I don’t want to imagine a world where riot grrrl is integrated into the gender suppressing religion of Islam and Christianity alike.
    Punk is having a real problem of taking these “micro-cultures” too seriously. The other day I had a punk friend of mine ask me if I knew anything about “homosexual Chicano hardcore”. Is this what punk has come to be? Something we can integrate into any kind of bullshit or niche for whoever? Have your beliefs but don’t associate that shit with the Punk scene. It’s simply due to the fact that no matter how in or out of context you read the Quran or the bible, it goes against everything punk is meant to be. This is just as lame as when christians thought Stryper was cool….

    Reply
    • Justin manchester
      August 31, 2011 at 7:14 am

      Also, I am not against homosexuality or Chicanos. Or anybody really who wants to be a punk. But I can’t help but state that I think that punk is a very powerful propaganda tool and I wouldn’t put it past these musicians to be fully aware of this. Just like I hate the witnesses when they come knocking in the morning, I hate being preached to by everything. Someone above mentioned “culture vulture” and that is a very brief and descriptive term of what these people are. Pandering to their niche.

      Reply

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