In 2003, Michael Muhammad Knight self-published his novel ‘The Taqwacores,’ the story of a fictional Muslim punk music scene in Rochester, N.Y. He invented the scene, and even its name — the word taqwacore comes from the Islamic concept of taqwá, meaning “god-consciousness,” mashed with the music genre of hardcore. Six years later, the book has been picked up by Soft Skull Press — they’re also publishing his latest book, Osama Van Halen — and there are real-life taqwacore bands all over the U.S.
Last night, powerHouse Arena in DUMBO, Brooklyn, celebrated the launch and release of ‘The Taqwacores: Muslim Punk in the USA,’ a new book (from powerHouse Books) and accompanying exhibition of photographs by Kim Badawi that runs through October 25. Born in France, Badawi became involved in taqwacore after meeting Knight, and going on tour with artists inspired by ‘The Taqwacores.’ Those artists included The Kominas, a Boston-based Punjabi punk band that played yesterday’s reception. To see the exhibition head to 37 Main St., or call 718-666-3049 for more information. To learn more about the taqwacore movement, check out NPR’s report on the growing scene.