Is Islamic Punk Dead? How Taqwacore Came, Went, and Left A Bittersweet Trail

MTV Iggy, May 28, 2012

EXCERPT: The first problem you face when trying to catch up with the Taqwacore movement—sometimes, if erroneously, summarized as “Muslim punk”—is that the man most closely identified with it really, really doesn’t want to talk about it anymore.

“I’m tired of talking about Taqwacore,” says author Michael Muhammad Knight. “I go to academic conferences and people are surprised that I’m not wearing a spiked leather jacket or flipping tables over.”

Knight, currently a Ph.D. student in Islamic Studies at the University of North Carolina and the wildly prolific author of seven books—novels, memoirs, scholarship—still can’t escape the resonance of his début cult novel “The Taqwacores,” originally self-published in 2003. (…)

But these days, talk to members of the original Taqwacore scene and you’ll hear ambivalence toward the term—if not outright repudiation.

“For the most part, it’s probably better for it to just go away,” says Omar Waqar, the Washington, D.C. area-based leader of bands Diacritical, Sarmust, and Evil Art Form.

Or as Arjun Ray, one of the Kominas’ original members (he left the band a couple of years ago) put it recently on the busy Facebook page Desi Punksss: “Taqwacore is dead. Long live Taqwacore.”

So soon after it crested, is it time to write Taqwacore’s epitaph? And if Taqwacore is dead, what happened to the milieu it was claimed to reflect, Muslim punk?

Read the whole story at MTV Iggy

Advertisements