Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam (2009)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

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.) Taqwacore: The Birth Of Punk Islam was an official selection at the 2009 Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival.
Documentary , Musical & Performing Arts , Special Interest , Faith & Spirituality
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Critic Reviews for Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam

All Critics (5) | Top Critics (1)

The film follows the history of a hybrid cultural movement inspired by a novel.

Full Review… | October 16, 2009
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | February 6, 2011
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

Muslim punk rock and an author's bizarre ride into the homeland

Full Review… | July 21, 2010
Metro Times (Detroit, MI)

It's easy to root against these coming-of-agers, who wear their confusion on their vintage T's and walk the line between self-persecution and deliberate outward agitation.

Full Review… | April 28, 2010
Boston Phoenix

A documentary that -- like its protagonist -- isn't quite sure what it wants to say, but has enough Spinal Tap moments to at least loudly entertain.

Full Review… | October 16, 2009
Jam! Movies

No excerpt available.

December 31, 1799
National Post

Audience Reviews for Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam

A sometimes too fluctuating narrative cannot derail an otherwise interesting documentary about the burgeoning Islamic punk scene growing in the US. The title and some of the narrative is drawn up from the novel by Michael Muhammad Knight about a Islamic punk squatting in Buffalo. His scenes and the narrative structure that is created during the moments at his spoken word performance where he talks about his life experiences tie the film together well but shortly after footage of the ISNA conference in Chicago the narrative structure becomes way too scattered. Specifically frustrating is when bands are brought into the story and given varying times on screen, their importance to what is happening diminishes too quickly. Despite the flaws in structure, the energy of the film is strong and like a good modern documentary, the material is too vital for it to be mulled over for years and years till it's stewed to perfection.

Generoso Fierro
Generoso Fierro

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