Writing in Time, Carla Power reported on a new documentary that showcases the bands at the forefront of North Americaâ€™s Islamic punk scene:
These young punks are taking on every establishment going: Muslim, American and Muslim American. â€œIn this so-called war of civilizations, weâ€™re giving the finger to both sides,â€ says the godfather of the Muslim punk movement, Michael Muhammad Knight, in Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam, a new documentary by Pakistani-Canadian director Omar Majeed. As a mashup of piety and politics, hard-core music and anarchy, the Muslim punk movement makes the Sex Pistols look like Fleetwood Mac.
According to Power, Knight coined taqwacore in his 2002 novel, â€œThe Taqwacoresâ€:
He then received an e-mail from a 16-year-old Texan Muslim, Kourosh Poursalehi, who was in a band called Vote Hezbollah, asking how he could get in touch with the mohawked Sufis, skater punks, burqa-wearing riot grrrls and skinhead Shiâ€™ites in the book. When Knight told him it was fiction, Poursalehi responded, â€œWell, then Iâ€™ll make it real.â€
Not surprisingly, Knight has come in for a good deal of criticism since writing his novel. As Lydia Crafts reported for NPR in July 2009:
The man who helped start all of this â€” Michael Muhammad Knight â€” has himself been singled out by Muslims and non-Muslims for his views on Islam.
â€œIâ€™ve gotten that from all kinds of people,â€ Knight says. â€œIâ€™ve gotten that from neo-conservative people on their blogs who say, â€˜Oh this is awesome, this guyâ€™s challenging Islam. This guyâ€™s hating Islam â€” heâ€™s trying to tear down all that.â€™ And Iâ€™m not trying to tear down Islam. Iâ€™m trying to make Islam possible in my life.â€
[Some sources translate taqwa as â€œhigher consciousnessâ€ or â€œGod consciousness.â€)