Arts & Culture

The Birth of Punk Islam

A friend showed me the breathtaking trailer for Michael Knight’s new documentary Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam, which I’ve included above. The film explores Michael’s unique relationship to his religion, while following the emergent culture of punk Islam, which … Read More

By / December 4, 2009

A friend showed me the breathtaking trailer for Michael Knight’s new documentary Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam, which I’ve included above. The film explores Michael’s unique relationship to his religion, while following the emergent culture of punk Islam, which the documentary alleges is partially due to Michael’s writing. Like Jericho’s Echo (a documentary about punk rock in Israel), it looks as if Taqwacore is a labor of love, a film that is at points both difficult and delightful as it struggles with handling and explaining concepts that seem to be naturally at-odds with each other.

"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."