lunes, 8 de agosto de 2011

punk islam


“I am an Islamist! I am the anti-Christ!” With their tongues firmly in cheek, Boston’s The Kominas belt out an anthem for a new generation of young Muslims. And in this basement of a decrepit Chicago punkhouse, a mob of like-minded Islamic misfits sneers along.

It is the summer of 2007. The Pakistani punkers have arrived at the last stop of their U.S. tour and are celebrating with tourmates. There’s Koroush, an Iranian kid from San Antonio who calls his bandVote Hezbollah; Sena, a Pakistani lesbian from Vancouver who fronts the all-girl Secret Trial Five; Marwan, whose Chicagobased group Al-Thawra pounds heavy metal beats into Arabic drones. And there, at the centre of it all, pumping his fists in the air and shouting Allah hu Akbar, is a white American convert named Michael Muhammad Knight.

The Islamic punk music scene would never have existed if it weren’t for his 2003 novel, The Taqwacores. Melding the Arabic word for god-consciousness with the edge of hardcore punk, Michael imagined a community of Muslim radicals: Mohawked Sufis, riot grrrls in burqas with band patches, skinhead Shi’as. These characters were entirely fictional.

But the movement they inspired is very real.

Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam follows Michael and his real-life kindred spirits on their first U.S. tour, where they incite a riot of young hijabi girls at the largest Muslim gathering in North America after Sena takes the stage. The film then travels with them to Pakistan, where members of the first Taqwacore band, The Kominas, bring punk to the streets of Lahore and Michael begins to reconcile his fundamentalist past with the rebel he has now become.

By stoking the revolution – against traditionalists in their own communities and against the clichés forced upon them from the outside – “we’re giving the finger to both sides,” says one Taqwacore. “Fuck you and fuck you.”

The Kominas are fronted by two Pakistani-Boston natives, Basim Usmani (bass, vocals) and Shahjehan Khan (guitar, vocals). Fellow Pakistani-American Imran Malik plays drums, and Arjun Ray, a Bengali-American plays guitar.  All four contribute to songwriting duties.

Basim and Shaj met at their local mosque as teenagers and immediately became fast friends. While at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell, they came across Michael Muhammad Knight’s novel, The Taqwacores.
Soon after devouring it, they decided to form their own band, The Kominas (which means ‘the bastards’ in Urdu).
They’ve been written about in Newsweek, The Guardian, CNN,NBC and Rolling Stone. Their album, Wild Nights in Guantanamo Bay, made a Boston Globe critic’s Top 10 list for 2008.
Their music can be hear and purchased at
They can also be found on myspace

The Secret Trial Five is fronted by Sena Hussain, a Pakistani Canadian drag king from Vancouver. Sena, who came out to her Muslim parents in her early 20s, decided to start the first all-girl Taqwacore band after finding The Kominas’ MySpace page. “I thought, Brown guys playing punk?” she says. “I’ve got to get in on this.” Sena and her band were invited to tour with The Kominas in 2007. When they all crashed the Islamic Society of North America’s annual meeting in Chicago, they caused a riot, with organizers and police on one side and excited hijabi girls rocking out on the other.
Visit The Secret Trial Five on Myspace

what the fuck
is a muslim punk?
rather hang with taliban
than dick around with drunks
muhammad wasn't white
and neither is this fight
and we weren't birthed
by michael knight

we're not taqwacore
we're not taqwacore
so leave us alone, leave us alone

we're not taqwacore
we're not taqwacore
so leave us alone, leave us alone

don't need you to say we're good
don't need you to say we suck
don't need no documentary
to say that we don't give a fuck

we're not taqwacore
we're not taqwacore
so leave us alone, leave us alone

we're not taqwacore
we're not taqwacore
so leave us alone, leave us alone

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