Movement In Literature: The Taqwacores

stage dive
Originally uploaded by wolf.tone

The US and British Punk Movements have been heavy on my mind ever since I committed to bringing the 70s Bronx of my youth alive in a poetry collection. Early Hip-Hop owes a lot to the anti-establishment art scene from the back-in-the-day Bowery and if you want proof take a peek at photos from Post-Blitz London and the Benign Neglect South Bronx.

Thinking about those connections has me really interested in this article from the NY Times:

Young Muslims Build a Subculture on an Underground Book

CLEVELAND — Five years ago, young Muslims across the United States began reading and passing along a blurry, photocopied novel called “The Taqwacores,” about imaginary punk rock Muslims in Buffalo.

“This book helped me create my identity,” said Naina Syed, 14, a high school freshman in Coventry, Conn.

A Muslim born in Pakistan, Naina said she spent hours on the phone listening to her older sister read the novel to her. “When I finally read the book for myself,” she said, “it was an amazing experience.”

The novel is “The Catcher in the Rye” for young Muslims, said Carl W. Ernst, a professor of Islamic studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Springing from the imagination of Michael Muhammad Knight, it inspired disaffected young Muslims in the United States to form real Muslim punk bands and build their own subculture.

More here.

You can also take a peek at the book through Google books and check the poem Muhammad Was A Punk Rocker. But the thing I am most excited about is finding out more about this community that is being captured in lit and how they are rallying around their own history. I’m not at all surprised about it, just happy to see it appear in American letters (again).

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