The Taqwacores - STAFF PICK
By Michael Muhammad Knight
Published by Raincoast Books

Set in a Muslim-punk house in Buffalo, New York, Michael Muhammad Knight’s novel The Taqwacores features Shi’a skinheads, Indonesian skaters, Sudanese rude boys, gay Muslims, drunk Muslims, and feminists. Their living room hosts parties and prayers, with a hole smashed in the wall to indicate the direction of Mecca. Their life together mixes sex, dope, and religion in roughly equal amounts, expressed in devotion to an Islamo-punk subculture, “taqwacore,” named for taqwa, an Arabic term for consciousness of the divine.

 

Originally self-published on photocopiers and spiral-bound by hand, The Tawqacores was first picked up for distribution by Alternative Tentacles, the punk record label founded by Jello Biafra. It has since been published in the US by radical press Autonomedia. A UK version is published by Telegram Books. The Italian translation re-titled the novel, Islampunk.   

 

Knight’s novel has come to be read as a manifesto for Muslim punk rockers.  It inspired the start of an actual taqwacore scene, including such bands as the Kominas, Vote Hezbollah and Secret Trial Five. Noted scholar Carl Ernst, specialist in Islamic studies at UNC, characterizes The Taqwacores as "a Catcher in the Rye for young Muslims."


Title: The Taqwacores - STAFF PICK
Author: Michael Muhammad Knight
Publisher: Raincoast Books