Now the underground success of Muslim punk has resulted in a low-budget independent film based on the book.
Very interesting. Only in America?
As part of the set, a Muslim punk rock musician, Marwan Kamel, 23, painted “Osama McDonald,” a figure with Osama bin Laden’s face atop Ronald McDonald’s body. Mr. Kamel said the painting was a protest against imperialism by American corporations and against Wahhabism, the strictest form of Islam.
Wahhabism is the dominant form of Islam in Saudi Arabia. So, let's see: this youngster uses bib Laden's face to protest Wahhabism and American imperialism? How so?
Noureen DeWulf, 24, an actress who plays a rocker in the movie, defended the film’s message. “I’m a Muslim and I’m 100-percent American,” Ms. DeWulf said, “so I can criticize my faith and my country. Rebellion? Punk? This is totally American.”
Protest is fine, allowed, and good.
The novel’s title combines “taqwa,” the Arabic word for “piety,” with “hardcore,” used to describe many genres of angry Western music. For many young American Muslims, stigmatized by their peers after the Sept. 11 attacks but repelled by both the Bush administration’s reaction to the attacks and the rigid conservatism of many Muslim leaders, the novel became a blueprint for their lives.
Mr. Muhammad Knight was born an Irish Catholic in upstate New York and converted to Islam as a teenager. He studied at a mosque in Pakistan but became disillusioned with Islam after learning about the sectarian battles after the death of Muhammad. He said he wrote “The Taqwacores” to mend the rift between his being an observant Muslim and an angry American youth. He found validation in the life of Muhammad, who instructed people to ignore their leaders, destroy their petty deities and follow only Allah.
After reading the novel, many Muslims e-mailed Mr. Muhammad Knight, asking for directions to the next Muslim punk show. Told that no such bands existed, some of them created their own, with names like Vote Hezbollah and Secret Trial Five. One band, the Kominas, wrote a song called “Suicide Bomb the Gap,” which became Muslim punk rock’s first anthem.
David Ahntholz for The New York Times - Michael Muhammad Knight, the author of “The Taqwacores,” which a college professor has called “The Catcher in the Rye” for young Muslims
Noureen DeWulf and Bobby Naderi, both actors, with Jay Verkamp, center, the sound mixer for the film version of Mr. Knight’s novel. The film was shot in Cleveland.