Monday, December 17, 2007

Muhammad is a Punk Rocker

Yeah- a little different from the Ramones classic "Sheena is a Punk Rocker," but for some young Muslim rockers the point their trying to make is that Muhammad was a punk rocker too. Inspired by an article I found on I thought this article to be too important to brush over.

After some Muslim youths discovered and read the book The Taqwacores "a novel written by Muslim-convert Michael Muhammad Knight about a fictional underground Muslim punk-rock scene in upstate New York," they decided they could turn fiction into reality.

The author Michael Knight argues that Muhammad was, for lack of a better comparison, a punk rocker. A man who stood up to oppressors, denied conformity and followed his own path and beliefs. The fictional band name is The Taqwacores and it's a contraction between the Arabic word taqwa, which translates to consciousness of God, and hardcore. The word hardcore is just what these courageous young rockers should be revered as and nothing less.

Bands like The Kominas and several others focus on musically screaming their frustrations over their elders fundamentalist and orthodox values and trying to find a place within modern, post 9/11 Muslim stereotyped America. The Kominas first single "Rumi was a homo" was written as a protest song against homophobia in the Muslim-American community and was a feature at Skidmore College's annual Music Agaisnt Hatred concert.

"A growing number of young Muslims who resist their parents’ orthodox views, but also struggle with the values of their non-Muslim friends, are embracing punk. Muslim punk provides a place to forge a new identity for young Muslims confused about religion and their role in American society, particularly as they are bombarded by negative stereotypes of Muslims in a post-9/11 America. At the same time, Muslim punk offers a palpable way to express anger toward the orthodoxies of fundamentalist Islam."
I agree with Sullivan's statement that we must be aware and concerned over the spread of fundamental Islamic ideals but it's also important to note the contradictions and satire for which these punk bands stand. Individualism and rebelliousness are inherently western ideals, and it's healthy, if not damn important, for these youths to retain who they are while having the flexibility to experiment with their modern identity by inevitably having to appreciate two of the most basic American rights: Freedom of speech and expression.

Rock on.

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