:: Tuesday, July 24, 2007 ::

The Taqwacores

Muslim punk? This I need to hear.

The interesting world of Michael Muhammad Knight.

"After a disillusionment with orthodox Islam, Knight wrote two books, Where Mullahs Fear to Tread and the Furious Cock, which he printed as xeroxed zines. In winter 2002 he wrote The Taqwacores, which told the story of a fictitious group of Muslim punk-rockers living in Buffalo, New York. Characters included a Straight edge Sunni Muslim, drunken mohawk-wearing Sufi punk, burqa-wearing riot grrl and Shi'a skinhead.

Knight originally self-published the novel in a spiral-bound, xeroxed form and gave away copies for free. The book was later picked up for distribution by Alternative Tentacles, the punk record label founded by Jello Biafra. An encounter with Peter Lamborn Wilson led to The Taqwacores being published by Autonomedia in 2004.

The Taqwacores was intended as Knight's "farewell to Islam,"[2] but encouragement from readers caused Knight to reconsider his relationship to the faith. The novel has since inspired the start of an actual taqwacore scene, including bands such as the Kominas, Vote Hezbollah and Secret Trial Five. Carl Ernst, specialist in Islamic studies at UNC, called The Taqwacores a "Catcher in the Rye for young Muslims."[3] The novel has been taught in courses at Vassar, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, Trinity College, Canisius College and Indiana University."

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