Fiction Becomes Islamic Punk Reality


When Michael Muhammad Knight wrote his novel The Taqwacores, about Muslims playing punk music, he didn’t know his fictional story would end up throwing down roots in the real world.

But young Muslims read the book and saw themselves:

“I had a lot of guilt growing up about not doing the right thing or not being a good Muslim or a good Pakistani kid,” Khan says. “And it was reading the book that was kind of an assurance that this confusion and maybe disenchantment was normal, and that other people went through it and there was nothing wrong with it.”

So they began forming in-the-flesh taqwacore bands, and those bands began forming connections with each other and touring together. If you’re intrigued, there’s a documentary, Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam, you might want to check out.

Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →