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Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam
Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam


Omar Majeed


80 minutes

Produced by:
Dan Cross

Edited by:
Maxime Chalifoux, Omar Majeed

Arabic, English, Punjabi, Urdu with English Subtitles
    Winner! Harlem International Film Festival
Winner! #1 Music Documentary of 2009 — Spin Earth
Official Selection! Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival

"Majeed’s film is remarkable…locating a cultural spark just as it catches fire." — Eye Weekly
"The Muslim punk movement makes the Sex Pistols look like Fleetwood Mac." — TIME
"…Inspiring and hopeful." —

Taqwacore chronicles the nascent Muslim punk rock movement in America. It was inspired by the work of Michael Knight, who converted to Islam in rebellion against his white-supremacist father. He went on to pen the novel "The Taqwacores" (a term combining the Muslim concept of God consciousness with hardcore punk), a manifesto for disillusioned Islamic teens.

Soon young Muslim musicians were contacting him and a tour idea was hatched. The film follows Knight and a variety of young subversives on tour as they shock and awe spectators in the U.S. before bringing their music to Lahore. They break every taboo along the way. As Knight exclaims, "they're giving the finger to both sides." The film charts their brave, foolish, and often exhilarating attempts to navigate the gap between their cultures and their countries, their religion and their individuality.

Michael Muhammad Knight's 2003 novel The Taqwacores told the story of a handful of Muslim punk rockers living in New York who form a band to spread the word about their faith. While the story was fiction, Knight's story inspired a small but vocal handful of real-life Muslim rock fans who struggle to combine their love of aggressive music with lyrics that celebrate Islamic teachings ("Taqwacore" comes from "Taqwa," an Arabic word which refers to deep and sincere religious faith, and "Hardcore," a speedy, stripped-down brand of punk rock that emerged in the 1980s).

Filmmaker Omar Majeed hit the road with a pair of Muslim punk bands as they set out on a low-budget tour, with author Knight in tow, and Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam documents their adventures while offering a look at the individual musicians, the message they want to share, and their status as outsiders both in the punk rock scene and in American culture. (The film also follows the musicians as they visit Pakistan after the end of the tour.)

Watch the Trailer:

DVD Special Features:
Region 0
Audio: Arabic, English, Punjabi, Urdu
English Subtitles

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