Islamic tomfoolery


A flash in the pan with no chance of survival

The rebellion of punk Islam only goes so far, the followers in the West struggle with gross contradictions with the small spin off groups in supposedly ‘moderate’ Indonesia being all hardliner fundamustards, which shows that real rebellion of Islam by the youth, especially in the Islamic world, will be incredibly shallow and short lived. KGS

Never mind the jihad, here’s Islam’s new radicals

Sanjiv Bhattacharya

August 8, 2011

A scene from The Taqwacores.A scene from The Taqwacores.

THERE was a time when the words ”Muslim radical” painted a clear picture – a young man strapped with explosives, perhaps, or a bearded cleric calling for sharia.

But things have changed. The protesters of the Arab Spring are both Muslim and radical, as are the bungling jihadis of Chris Morris’s movie Four Lions. And now a new film, The Taqwacores, attempts to further stretch the definition.

The film’s set-up sounds familiar enough – a meek Muslim student named Yusef joins a hardcore Islamic commune and becomes radicalised. But this time, ”hardcore” refers to punk rock. This is a commune where one Muslim, Jehangir, sports a red mohawk and announces morning prayers with an electric guitar. Another is gay and wears a skirt and make-up. The bands that congregate there have names such as Osama’s Tunnel Diggers and Boxcutter Surprise. They drink beer and smoke pot, and among them is a spitfire feminist in a burqa.

There’s a fundamentalist faction in this commune at odds with the punk renegades such as Jehangir, and their battle comes to a head in a raucous final concert. Even though The Taqwacores received a mixed reaction when it was released in the US, on originality alone it is out on its own, to say nothing of its extraordinary backstory: a movie based on a book based on a purely fictional punk rock scene that then spawned an entire music scene.

The original novel was written by Michael Muhammad Knight, a radical who, at 17 left upstate New York to study Islam in Pakistan. He converted to Islam as an act of rebellion, but soon found plenty to rebel against within Islam – not least its attitudes towards women, gay people and alcohol.

So I imagined this fantasy world where Islam didn’t have an absolute definition, and you had the power to define it yourself,” says Knight, now a PhD student in Islamic studies in New York. That world was an imaginary Muslim punk scene called Taqwacore where these questions could all be resolved – ”taqwa” being an Arabic term for consciousness of the divine.

”At the time that I wrote it, I didn’t know if I could call myself a Muslim,” he says. ”I didn’t sign on to this whole checklist of beliefs. I felt that I’d failed as a convert and I was an exile, outside the mosque and on the margins. But punk celebrates that. The punk kids inspired me to not be afraid of who I was.”

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NOTE: Just try that crap outside the safety of the US and see how long you survive

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