Genre: Documentary (coming soon!)
Maybe you'll never get on the radio, maybe no one within any kind of music establishment will support you…but even if it's just within your group of friends, you can create your own culture. These words from Michael Muhammad Knight, an American Muslim and unofficial founder of the Taqwacore music scene, spell out the alienated, courageous autonomy of punk culture in bright colours. Knight is the focal point of Omar Majeed's explosive doc; the other subjects are a handful of American Muslim musicians who've been galvanized by Knight's book The Taqwacores. Caught in a tug of war between Western corporate permissiveness and a religion that's become hardened and constricting, these kids decide to grab guitars and change their reality. "In the so-called War of Civilizations, we're pointing the middle finger in both directions," says Knight near the beginning of the film. What follows certainly bears him out: 80 minutes of gleeful taboo-smashing, poignant soul-searching and loud, furious music.
If the Islamic punk scene grows into something major (and on the evidence of this movie, it likely will), Majeed and Knight will surely go down in history as its first big proponents and chroniclers. Catch it now and you can say that you were one of the first to be in on something really big.
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.